Saracens Academy Manager Don Barrell is to join the Rugby Football Union (RFU) as head of regional academies, it has been announced.
Reporting to Dean Ryan, head of international performance, Barrell will take up the role in July and will be responsible for leading and managing the Regional Academy programme.
The aim of the Regional Academies is to produce high-quality players to feed into the Premiership and international players for England.
“We’re delighted to have secured the services of Don for this hugely important role as we enter a new phase for the Regional Academy programme,” said Ryan.
“Don has a wide-ranging skill set and a vast knowledge of the academy system and this is a fantastic opportunity for him to develop a strategic direction of the programme to ensure a network of high performance.”
The 14 academies, funded by both the RFU and Premiership Rugby Limited (PRL), are located at the 12 Aviva Premiership teams and Greene King IPA Championship’s London Irish and Yorkshire Carnegie.
Barrell enjoyed a playing career with Saracens, England Sevens and Bedford before beginning his coaching career at Mill Hill School. He took up the role of Saracens Academy Coach in 2011 before being promoted into his current position of Saracens Academy Manager two years later.
Barrell replaces Alun Powell who is leaving the RFU to take up the role of National Talent Manager at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).