London - Former England captain Nigel Melville will replace Rob Andrew as the
Rugby Football Union's director of professional rugby after the end of
the current season, the English national governing body said on Friday.
is currently the chief executive of USA Rugby and was previously a
director of rugby at Premiership clubs Gloucester and Wasps.
10 years at Twickenham have seen him play a key role in helping end
damaging disputes between England and the 12 Premiership clubs over such
vexed issues as player release for the national side.
But he has come under fire for his relationship with England coaches during his time as a Twickenham administrator.
was criticised for his role in hiring former captain Martin Johnson -
who had no previous management experience - and for not giving enough
support to Stuart Lancaster, sacked as England coach after the team
became the first World Cup host nation to exit the tournament in the
group stage in October.
But Andrew repeatedly insisted his critics
misunderstood his role, saying it was more about developing a pool of
England-qualified players and managing relations with the Premiership
than assisting the Test side.
Following their World Cup debacle,
England - under the guidance of new Australian coach Eddie Jones - won
this season's Six Nations with a grand slam.
The RFU said the
55-year-old Melville would have a similar remit to Andrew and did not
include any role with the senior England team in a statement outlining
"I would like to thank USA Rugby for their
support, and I am very proud of what has been achieved in the
organisation and the game in the US over the last decade," said Melville
in the RFU's statement.
"However, I am now hugely excited about
this opportunity to join England Rugby in what is a very buoyant time,"
added Melville, who won 13 England caps before his career was cut short
Scrum-half Melville and fly-half Andrew formed a
half-back pairing for Wasps and England when they were both at the then
London-based side in the 1980s.
Andrew, 53, added: "Having played
with and known Nigel for a long time I believe that he is the best
candidate to be appointed to take over the reins from me."
RFU, said Andrew had "instigated discussions" with chief executive Ian
Ritchie over a "number of months" regarding his departure.
added he would stay on until the latest agreement between the RFU and
the Premiership clubs, due to run until after the 2023 World Cup, was
Andrew, 53, said: "After 10 years at the RFU and with
the impending conclusion of the second Heads of Agreement, it feels like
the right time to step down at the end of the season.
"I hope and
believe that I will leave a secure foundation to build a successful
future," said Andrew, who won 71 England caps and five for the British
and Irish Lions.
He also guided Newcastle to the Premiership
title in 1998, while acting as a mentor to Jonny Wilkinson in the early
years of the England great's career.