The Rugby Football Union have approached the Leicester Tigers to appoint Tom Harrison as England scrum manager ahead of the World Cup, Telegraph Sport can reveal.
If Harrison joins Steve Borthwick’s squad to fill a vacancy left by Montpellier-bound Richard Cockerill after the Six Nations, the move would complete a stunning transplant of the coaching team that guided Tigers to the Premiership title last season.
Having brought Kevin Sinfield with him to England as defense coach after taking over from Eddie Jones in December, Borthwick has already secured the services of Richard Wigglesworth and Aled Walters for the World Cup.
The latter two will move up to the assistant coach and head of strength and conditioning posts, respectively, after the end of the domestic season.
It is unclear at this stage whether or not Harrison would be an interim World Cup fixture. England are thought to have interviewed a number of potential candidates for the scrum coach role, some of whom have contracts to rival test nations for the World Cup.
However, the RFU have to fill the seat for the tournament itself because Montpellier insisted Cockerill start work before the 2023-24 season. A senior source has indicated that Borthwick may finalize more managers for the World Cup campaign soon.
Harrison has been a key member of Leicester’s staff since 2020, when he moved into a senior role after three years with the club’s academy.
The Tigers’ scrum was a mainstay of their success, with veteran prop Dan Cole earning a recall to England for Borthwick’s inaugural Six Nations.
Despite losing Borthwick and Sinfield ahead of the Six Nations, Leicester braved an unprecedented situation and battled for the Premiership table to reach the top four and stay in contention to defend the trophy they won by beating Saracens last year.
Barring a heavy loss to Harlequins in the final round of the regular campaign, they will face Sale Sharks in the second semi-final on May 14.
Wigglesworth served as interim head coach for Leicester, who recruited Dan McKellar from the Wallabies as the first permanent head coach of the post-Borthwick era.
England Under-20 head coach Alan Dickens is also expected to join the Tigers for next season. Matt Everard, Brett Deacon and Matt Smith have taken on more responsibilities at Leicester since Borthwick and Sinfield left for England.
The Telegraph revealed last week that the RFU will employ two pace skills coaches to work with young players moving up from the age-group ranks to the men’s and women’s senior England squads.
One of these will be given the task of focusing on developing tight five forwards. Felix Jones, who won the 2019 World Cup with South Africa alongside Walters, will leave the Springboks to join Borthwick in 2024.