Percy Park’s James Ponton has been selected by England to help coach the national U20 squad.
He is one of three coaches who have been selected for an 18-month secondment as part of the new coach development programme agreement signed between the RFU and Premiership Rugby.
The programme will run alongside the coaches’ current club duties and will include the 2018 Six Nations as well as the World Rugby U20 Championship.
“The coaches will gain experience from working in a different environment with people who have different ideas and approaches to them,” said head of international player development Dean Ryan.
“We have a stronger idea now of how we want England U20s to play so they will have to amend their own philosophies but they will also gain experience of coaching at two international tournaments – the Six Nations as well as the World Rugby U20 Championship. We believe that experience will stand them in good stead in the future.
“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 rugby players.”
The U20 coaching team will be led by RFU performance manager Steve Bates
Ponton joined Newcastle Falcons as academy coach in January 2012 and said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to improve as a coach and gain experience in a different environment as well as work with people like Dean Ryan and Steve Bates.”