Leicester Tigers’ lead academy coach Anthony Allen is to work with the England Under-20s team alongside his club duties.
Allen, former Tigers forwards coach Richard Blaze and Newcastle Falcons coach Jimmy Ponton have been selected to work with the Under-20s on an 18-month contract as part of the coach development programme agreement between the RFU and Premiership Rugby.
The programme will run alongside each coach’s current club duties and will include the 2018 Six Nations and World Rugby Under-20 Championship.
The coaching team will be led by RFU performance manager Steve Bates and the trio will receive an individual development programme, following a successful trial last year which saw Louis Deacon, Tom Williams and Ian Vass lead England Under-20s to Six Nations victory and to the final of the World Rugby Championship.
The coaches will be involved in preparing, delivering and reviewing the Under-20’s programme under head coach Bates and will also have access to mentors and elite environments in a range of sports.
Allen, who won two caps for England and retired in 2015 after more than 120 appearances for Tigers, said: “This is a great opportunity to develop my coaching and work with exciting young talent from around the country.
“I’ve played for the 20s so to be asked to coach with this group is an honour. I’m really looking forward to the challenges of coaching with an international representative team alongside my work with the Tigers.”
Former Tigers player and forwards coach Blaze added: “It’s a great opportunity. I found playing age-grade international rugby a key part of my career so to be able to contribute now as a coach is hugely exciting.”
The RFU’s head of international player development, Dean Ryan, said the coaches would gain experience from working in a different environment and added: “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 players.”