Pearson handed Six Nations role
Leading English official Dave Pearson has been appointed as the Six Nations' first elite referee coach.
Pearson, who has refereed more than 300 senior games - including 29 Test matches, will begin his new role on October 8.
Jon Davis, the Six Nations tournament and operations director, said: "We are very pleased to have Dave on board, particularly given his up-to-date experience at the top level of refereeing. Dave's primary role will be to raise the standard and quantity of elite referees across the Six Nations."
Davis added: "He will work closely with (European Rugby Cup referee manager) Donal Courtney, who played an important part in the recruitment process, and together they will be working towards a common philosophy for coaching elite match officials across the Six Nations."
Pearson said: "Referee coaching is where I always saw myself going after refereeing at the top level, and this is the perfect job for me.
"Although it has perhaps come a little sooner than I had anticipated, I am extremely excited about taking the new role on and working for the Six Nations."
Pearson has been backed in his new position by Ed Morrison, the Rugby Football Union's head of professional referee development.
"While never anticipating Dave Pearson moving from active refereeing at this early stage, the referee coaching role within the Six Nations affords him a wonderful opportunity move to the next stage of his working life," said 1995 World Cup final referee Morrison.
"Dave brings with him a wealth of refereeing knowledge, having operated at the highest level of the game for some years."