EMMA KENNEDY

Alex Corbisiero and Shaun Perry have been appointed by the Rugby Football Union as part time positional coaches to support the England age grade teams and develop talented players on the pathway.

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With a focus on the scrum, front row and scrum halves, the former internationals join a coaching group which includes World Cup winner Richard Hill, now in his second year as a player mentor, working with young players aiming to progress to the England team.

The specialist input of Corbisiero is being provided during the U20 Six Nations and U18 competition window and for the 27-year-old year old prop, currently taking a break from playing the game, it is a chance to share his knowledge and experience with the next generation of England players.

Corbisiero was capped ten times at U20 level before going on to make 19 senior appearances and two as a British and Irish Lion.

He said: “I’ve always liked the idea of player mentoring as I feel I was lucky to have great mentors myself when I was younger. Guys like Neal Hatley and Graham Rowntree made a big impression and helped me massively. It is good to be in a position now to give back and support players coming through.

“It wasn’t too long ago that I was at their stage and only recently was in that changing room environment, so I can relate easily to the players and they accept me straight away, all ears, ready to learn. They are a talented group with a good attitude and I’ve found it really rewarding.

“The set piece points that we have been working on together have gone well during the Six Nations,” he added. “It has been about sharpening a number of small things that, when put together, can make a big difference and then building week  on week.”

For Level Three coach Perry it is a role that comes in addition to his current school and club coaching commitments. The scrum half retired from the game in July 2013 and pursued his interest in coaching.

Perry said: “I love rugby, having played it since the age of seven. I wanted to get involved in coaching after playing as I was lucky enough to experience good coaches and felt I could do a good job.

“It is great to be back in the elite environment and I think theEngland age grade setup is outstanding. I’ve been impressed with the skill level of the players and the energy that they bring – there is a good buzz. I enjoy being able to support their learning and hopefully my input can make a difference in some way. It is a privilege to be involved.”

The two part-time coaches are part of a set-up that currently includes international player development coaches Jon Callard, John Fletcher, Peter Walton, Russell Earnshaw and Rory Teague, plus specialists Simon Hardy and Mark Luffman.

Joe Lydon, Head of International Player Development said: “Alex and Shaun complement the current coaches and, as they are both relatively new in their coaching journeys, there is value in this experience for them. It is obvious that they are both naturals when it comes to coaching and mentoring young players.

“The focus is on creating a player-centred learning environment and U18 Head Coach John Fletcher played a key part in bringing about their involvement. He is constantly looking at how we can add value for the players and accelerate their development.

“We’ve had excellent feedback as the players value and respect their input, knowing that they have achieved themselves at the highest level. The two coaches also have great empathy for the players and there is an instant rapport. I hope we continue to not only work with Alex and Shaun but also find others who can work in a similar role, supporting the learning of the young players.”