The Rugby Football League today announced a restructure of the England Performance Unit which involves an expanded role for Paul Sculthorpe MBE, and contract extensions for Kevin Sinfield MBE and Jamie Peacock MBE.
Sculthorpe, the only man to win Super League’s Man of Steel award in consecutive years, has been appointed England Pathways Coach, meaning he will be working with all teams in the EPU and focusing on the country’s outstanding young players, from Junior Academy to Knights level – following his involvement in last autumn’s successful England Knights tour of Papua New Guinea.
Sinfield, who joined the RFL as Rugby Director in 2016 and has continued in that role since being appointed as Director of Rugby at Leeds Rhinos last summer, has committed to the RFL role until 2022 – after the Rugby League World Cup on home soil in 2021.
Peacock, another former England and Great Britain captain who has been working as the England team manager since July 2016, has also extended his agreement with the RFL until 2021.
Paul Anderson will be continuing as Knights head coach in a consultancy role after joining Warrington’s backroom staff since the end of last season, and the former Warrington forward David Elliott remains National Programme Manager and head coach of the England Academy team after the 2-0 series victory over the Australian Schoolboys last month.
Ben Jones, previously the Research and Innovation Manager, takes a new role as England Performance Director; Jane Phillips takes over as Head of England Operations; and Barry Frost continues as Head of Performance Analysis.
Further announcements about the England Women and Wheelchair coaching staff will be made later this year.
Ralph Rimmer, the RFL chief executive, said: “We created the England Performance Unit last January after proposals from Kevin Sinfield, and the results for 2018 speak for themselves.
“Our senior England men’s team won four games out of five Tests played, three of them against New Zealand.
“England Women had a big win in France – although we recognise that securing more international competition for them is a major priority for 2019 and beyond – and on one memorable Saturday in October, the Knights made it three wins out of three for our England teams when they won their first international in Papua New Guinea.
“That was followed by the superb performances of Dave Elliott’s England Academy team against the Australian Schoolboys.
“So it’s great to be able to announce the news that Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Paul Sculthorpe – three truly outstanding players of the Super League era – will retain key roles in the EPU, as we continue to build towards hosting the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.
“We recognise there is a need for clarity about international fixtures for all our national teams – men’s, women’s and wheelchair – and rest assured we are working hard behind the scenes to allow us to make further positive announcements as soon as possible.
“The EPU is delivering exactly as we had hoped, which is thanks to those involved and also the support of the clubs.
“We remain focused on success in the RLWC2021 and beyond, as we all understand the impact this can have for the sport in the UK – and are therefore delighted to have secured these key personnel on that journey.”
England Performance Unit 2019
England Rugby Director; Kevin Sinfield (Consultant)
England Performance Director; Ben Jones (Consultant)
Knights Head Coach; Paul Anderson (Consultant)
National Programme Manager; Dave Elliott (Employee)
England Pathways Coach; Paul Sculthorpe (Consultant)
Head of England Operations; Jane Phillips (Employee)
RFL Head of Coaching and Player Development; Dave Rotheram (Employee)
Performance Analysis; Barry Frost (Consultant)