|Rob Andrew will leave his role as RFU Director of Professional Rugby at the end of the current season.
Andrew, who resigned from his position having instigated discussions with RFU CEO Ian Ritchie for a number of months, has agreed that he will continue to work on completing the latest agreement with Premiership Rugby that will run through till after the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Andrew, since joining the RFU in 2006, has made a major contribution to England Rugby and will leave the domestic game and England teams in excellent shape.
The former England international previously held roles including Rugby Operations Director and Elite Rugby Director at the RFU and led the negotiations that resulted in the existing eight-year Heads of Agreement deal between the RFU and Premiership Rugby.
In his current role he has overseen regional academies, medical, anti-doping, coaching development, referees, rugby events and competitions, rugby operations and the Greene King IPA Championship. He also sits on the Professional Game Board, European Professional Club Rugby Board and GB Sevens Executive Committee.
Rob Andrew, Professional Rugby Director of the RFU said: “After 10 years at the RFU and with the impending conclusion of the second Heads of Agreement, it feels like the right time to step down at the end of the season.
”My role has primarily been to set up a structure that would ultimately deliver long-term success to England through a pipeline of talented players coming through the academy system. Bringing together the clubs to support the new academy scheme required recognition from the RFU to reward them to bring on successful academy players and I believe we have achieved this.
“The staff and coaches who have delivered this at both club and England junior level are the unsung heroes and I would like to give them the thanks and recognition they deserve. The pipeline is going from strength-to-strength and I believe will deliver Eddie Jones and his coaches the world-class players that England need to ensure increasing success going forward.
“The key to the relationship success between the clubs and the RFU has been the development of the academy system and desire by club and country to produce home grown players. The RFU now invests with the clubs significantly in the academy system and the England Qualified Player scheme. This has led to a progression of successful age grade teams with the U20s, in particular having reached six out of the last eight World Rugby U20 Championship finals and winning two of the last three.
“I hope and believe that I will leave a secure foundation to build a successful future and I will continue to give my support in any way I can to achieve this.”
Ian Ritchie, CEO of the RFU said: “We are obviously disappointed to see Rob leave the RFU after 10 years which has seen him bring about a great deal of positive change at the professional end of the game in England in that time.
“Improving the relationship between the RFU and the professional clubs has been very important for us and Rob has been instrumental in that process. His experience at the time was vital as a former England player and having spent 10 successful years developing the Newcastle Falcons following the game going professional in 1995.
“Since that time Rob has delivered an English solution to an English challenge and the strong relationship between the RFU and the professional clubs should provide the basis for sustained success over the course of the coming years.
“The sustained investment in the English system is now producing a stream of talented age grade players who have quickly progressed to the England senior team. Rob was the architect of this structural legacy and should be justifiably proud of his achievements.”
An announcement on his replacement will be made shortly.