Peter Keen and Sir Ian McGeechan to lead England performance review
Two of the world’s leading names in high performance sport are working with the RFU to ensure England’s success at the highest level.
Former UK Sport Performance Director Peter Keen was the architect of the systems and processes that resulted in Great Britain’s 19 gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, and continued to oversee the performance pathways that delivered 29 golds and ensured huge success at London 2012, while Sir Ian McGeechan has coached the British & Irish Lions five times as well as leading London Wasps to Heineken Cup and Aviva Premiership titles.
The independent consultants are reporting to Chief Executive Ian Ritchie as part of the RFU’s drive to make sure England teams have the foundations necessary for long-term success.
“I’m delighted we’ve got two outstanding individuals involved and this is a very positive move,” said Ritchie.
“We have one of the greatest rugby brains of modern times allied with one of the most respected performance experts Great Britain has produced and that experience of best practice at the very top of elite sport can only benefit us.
“Across the organisation we’re continually looking at how we can do things better. In this case that means the best performance pathways, support mechanisms and programmes which ultimately result in better England teams. I know they’re both very excited about their involvement and I’m looking forward to working with them closely.”
Peter Keen CBE
Peter Keen joined UK Sport in 2004 as a Performance Consultant becoming Director of Performance in 2009, leading the work supporting the delivery of Mission 2012 and UK Sport’s performance ambitions, including delivery of support programmes around Talent Identification and Development, Research and Innovation and Coaching.
When he stepped down this year to become UK Sport’s Special Advisor for Performance, sports minister Hugh Robertson said: “His legacy is the 47 medals we won in Beijing and the system he has developed that will take us to London and through to Rio. He is the cog in the middle of the wheel that has driven that high performance system."
A talented junior international cyclist (a national champion and record holder over 10 miles), he began coaching from the age of 22 and was first appointed national cycling coach aged 25.
Keen was a University lecturer in Sports Physiology for 10 years until 1997 with degrees from University College, Chichester and Loughborough University, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Brighton.
He has attended four Olympic Games (Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney) as a GB team official. He coached elite women and men to nine world records, gold medals at Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European Championships, and over 50 national titles. His most high profile athlete was Barcelona 1992 Olympic Champion Chris Boardman MBE, whom he coached from age 18 until his retirement in 2000, aged 32.
Keen left academia in 1997 to set up the National Lottery funded High Performance Cycling Programme based at the Manchester Velodrome. He then oversaw Great Britain’s move from the 13th ranked nation in world cycling in 1998 to 4th in 2002 based on World Championship results. He was awarded an OBE in 2003 for services to sport and a CBE in June this year.
Sir Ian McGeechan OBE
Sir Ian McGeechan is one of the rugby world’s most accomplished club and international coaches and was knighted for his services to the sport in 2010.
As a centre he appeared for Headingley and won 32 caps for Scotland, captaining the team on nine occasions and touring with the British Lions to South Africa (1974) and New Zealand (1977), appearing in eight Tests.
He went on to join Scotland’s coaching team in 1987, taking over as head coach in 1988 and winning a Five Nations Grand Slam in 1990, before becoming the director of rugby at Northampton Saints from 1993-99.
He has been the British & Irish Lions head coach on four separate tours – to Australia (1989), New Zealand (1993) and South Africa (1997 & 2009) - and also coached the midweek side in New Zealand in 2005.
After a spell as Scotland’s Director of Rugby he returned to the club scene to lead London Wasps from 2005 to 2009, winning the Heineken Cup in 2007 and Aviva Premiership in 2008. He was Bath’s performance director and director of rugby before joining Leeds Carnegie as Executive Chairman last month.