England Rugby has announced the appointment of three U20 coaches for the 2017/18 season.
Anthony Allen, Richard Blaze and James Ponton will all join for 18 months as part of the new coach development programme agreement signed between the RFU and Premiership Rugby.
The programme will run alongside the coaches’ current club duties and will include the 2018 Six Nations as well as the World Rugby U20 Championship.
“The coaches will gain experience from working in a different environment with people who have different ideas and approaches to them,” said head of international player development Dean Ryan.
“We have a stronger idea now of how we want England U20s to play so they will have to amend their own philosophies but they will also gain experience of coaching at two international tournaments – the Six Nations as well as the World Rugby U20 Championship. We believe that experience will stand them in good stead in the future.
“The opportunity to be a senior coach in an international environment doesn’t come around too often so this is a unique experience for them with a group of very talented young rugby players.”
The U20 coaching team will be led by RFU performance manager Steve Bates and the trio will receive an individually designed coach development programme, which commenced on 15 November with a visit to Pennyhill Park to observe the England senior team’s preparations.