Mark Mapletoft named new England men's U20 head coach

Mark Mapletoft named new England men's U20 head coach

The Rugby Football Union has confirmed that Mark Mapletoft is the new England men’s U20 head coach after Alan Dickens concluded his role. 

Mapletoft, who has been an assistant coach with England men’s U18 since 2020, takes over as men’s U20 head coach immediately.

As a player Mapletoft represented Gloucester Rugby, Harlequins and London Irish during a career which also saw him earn a test cap for England in 1997. The former full back and fly-half has since had extensive experience mentoring age-grade players, including as the National Academy Coach for the RFU from 2007-2010 and more than a decade coaching at Harlequins.

Mapletoft will lead the England squad on its upcoming two-match tour of Georgia (matches on Saturday, 27 May and Thursday, 1 June) as well as at the returning World Rugby U20 Championship in South Africa running from 24 June-14 July.

Dickens a former Sale, Leeds, Saracens and Northampton scrum-half started with the RFU in December 2019 and played a vital role in the nurturing of future and now-current senior England players. His tenure included guiding England to a grand slam Under-20 Six Nations title in 2021.

A recruitment process to fill Mapletoft’s previous position with the England men’s U18 will begin shortly.

Executive Director of Performance Rugby, Conor O’Shea said: “We are delighted Mark will move from his current position with the England men’s U18 squad into the U20 set up. He brings much experience from in and outside England Rugby and provides continuity for our pathways programme during an exciting time as we push on to the World Rugby U20 Championship.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to Alan for his time as England men’s U20 head coach. He’s been a big part of developing our emerging players since 2019, helping many young men grow on and off the pitch during that time. The pathways programme is one for both players and coaches, and we look forward to seeing Alan continue to develop as a coach. We wish him and his family the very best.”

Mapletoft said: “I’m very excited to move into the head coach role with England men’s U20. It’s a big responsibility to help shape the young men coming through our pathways programme and one I’ve taken great pride in throughout my career, including when working with many of this squad’s players and those who’ve gone on to play in the England senior team in my previous roles.

“Our focus now is using the tour of Georgia to continue preparing for the World Rugby U20 Championship in South Africa, which will be a valuable development experience for the players, by playing against a big, physical side with a set piece-focus.”

Dickens said: “I am very grateful for my time as head coach of England men's U20. The past four years have been an incredibly valuable experience and it has been an honour to have this role. I've worked alongside some excellent people in the development pathway as well as having coached the best youngsters and possible future England international players. I'm excited about my upcoming opportunity and challenges, and warmly wish the current men's U20 good luck for the World Cup in South Africa."

Latest News