Former Italy head coach Conor O’Shea will join the Rugby Football Union (RFU) as director of performance in 2020.

O’Shea this month resigned as Italy boss, having failed to guide the Azzurri out of a difficult Rugby World Cup group that included New Zealand and eventual champions South Africa.

The Irishman’s impeding arrival was confirmed after the RFU announced director of professional rugby Nigel Melville will leave the organisation in December.

O’Shea is to work closely with Eddie Jones and will be responsible for the leadership, management and strategic direction of the professional game in England.

“I am privileged and honoured and it is an incredible opportunity to join at a really exciting time for English rugby,” said O’Shea.

“I’ve spent the last four years in Italy, six years at Harlequins and before that 10 years at London Irish, so I feel I know the system pretty well. The good times, the bad times, winning things and being competitive, so I can relate to the people and challenges that happen within our system. I have learned a huge amount internationally in the last few years as well.

“There is an exciting vision at the RFU. It is not just about winning tomorrow, but also about sustaining success and winning long into the future. We can really look forward to rejuvenating and re-energising the performance pathway to help, support and push England rugby on.”

RFU CEO Bill Sweeney added: “Conor knows Eddie Jones very well and will be able to integrate with what is happening at the highest level on the elite side of our game and making sure we have a seamless approach to player and coach development will be key.

“He will also work closely with Premiership Rugby and the clubs to make sure we have the right relationships with them.

“There is a lot happening. We are just coming off a very successful Rugby World Cup, the youngest-ever team to compete in a World Cup final so it bodes really well for us going forward.

“We are looking forward to the Six Nations coming up now but that is part of a longer journey through to France in 2023. We look at that and the experience of Japan and that is something we can really build on.”