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Rob Andrew set for new RFU role

Rob Andrew has been appointed as the Rugby Football Union's new director of rugby operations.

Andrew's previous role as the elite rugby director at Twickenham, which he had held for five years, was made redundant in a shake-up of the RFU's senior management.

The elite department and the RFU's community arm were brought together in a single rugby department, divided into three areas: performance, operations and development.

Andrew was invited to apply for the operations role after putting in place the structures that have underpinned England's success this season, culminating in the RBS 6 Nations title and an Under-20s Grand Slam.

Andrew negotiated the English Qualified Player (EQP) scheme and an eight-year deal with the Aviva Premiership clubs to secure England additional access to their elite players (EPS).

The former England fly-half will relinquish direct responsibility for elite teams to a new performance director, who is yet to be appointed.

But Andrew will continue to manage those schemes while his new brief includes overseeing tournaments and competitions, referee and coach development, sports science, medicine and player welfare.

"I am excited by the opportunity to maintain many of my key responsibilities at the RFU and to add new ones to my remit," Andrew said.

"Continuing to work closely with Premiership Rugby and the clubs on our eight year agreement will provide continuity and allow me to influence the elite game."

The RFU have also confirmed that Steve Grainger, former chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, has been appointed as the new rugby development director.

Grainger will join in June and take responsibility for all grassroots development including schools, universities, clubs, tag and touch rugby and volunteers.

RFU chief executive John Steele said: "Our restructure has given us the chance to attract the very best talent to the RFU for the future.

"Rob has had great success in building and developing a platform for the success we are starting to see in our England teams. We will now be looking for him to turn his talent to the whole game from professional to grassroots rugby.

"Steve is one of the UK's leading experts in sports development and now the RFU has the opportunity to draw on that.

"Both will be key members of my leadership team as we look forward to re-energising the RFU and our clubs in the lead-up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

"The next five years are going to be exciting times in English rugby and will define the next 20 years and I am delighted to have two such capable sports leaders to improve the quality of experience for all involved in the game."

The recruitment of a new performance director, the highest profile of the three newly-created positions, has been delayed for a couple of months.

The RFU said some of the candidates had been unable to take enough time out from their rugby schedules to complete the interview process, which takes around a day and a half.

Sir Clive Woodward, England's World Cup-winning coach who is currently elite performance director at the British Olympic Association, has been linked with the position.