RFU offer too good to refuse for Mallinder

Last updated at 14:14 05 August 2004

Sale have released coach Jim Mallinder to allow him to join the coaching set-up at the new National Academy.

Mallinder only agreed a new three-year contract with the Sharks in February but the recent appointment of Philippe Saint-Andre had reduced his influence at the club.

Mallinder has impressed as coach of the England Churchill Cup side for the past two years and will now link up with the Rugby Football Union full-time.

"I have enjoyed 15 wonderful years at Sale Sharks as both player and coach, and last season committed myself to them for the foreseeable future," Mallinder said.

"However, having been part of the England set-up as coach of the Churchill Cup summer tours, when the chance came to join them full-time it was an opportunity that was simply too good to refuse - an offer that may never have come up again for me.

"It is a wrench to leave as I believe that under Philippe Saint-Andre this team will be extremely successful.

"I believe Sale Sharks are on the verge of major success and, when it comes, I will look back to the part I played with real pride."

Mallinder will be based at the new Academy at Bath University, which under the charge of Brian Ashton will groom 'junior' and 'intermediate' players for Sir Clive Woodward's 'senior' England squad.

Worcester's Nigel Redman is also to join the new coaching team.

RFU performance director Chris Spice said: "I'm delighted that we have secured the services of two of England's best coaches for the National Academy.

"Nigel played a major role in the England Under-21 team's success when they won the Grand Slam for the first time this year and Jim has proved what he can achieve through his work with the Churchill Cup squads over the last two years and at Sale Sharks."