Former England Saxons, Newcastle and Bath prop David Barnes has been appointed as the Rugby Football Union’s head of discipline, replacing Gerard McEvilly who is emigrating to Australia. 

Barnes, 40, who will begin his role on 17 July, has been an RFU citing officer since 2014, working on appointments for the Premiership, Greene King IPA Championship and World Rugby.

He joins in a full-time capacity having spent over nine years at the Rugby Players’ Association initially as chairman and then as rugby operations director.

“As a former player and citing officer David has a wealth of experience and understanding of the game, which will be very valuable to this role,” said RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie. “I know that he has a lot to offer the discipline department and we look forward to welcoming David to the RFU.

“I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank Gerard. In his five years at the RFU he has played a significant role to drive the high standards that we expect across the game in line with rugby’s core values. Gerard leaves the disciplinary department in a very strong position and we wish him all the best for his new life down under.”

Barnes himself added: “This is such an important area within the game. I’m relishing the opportunity to work with the independent judiciary to further develop and shape the disciplinary system and help to protect the values of our game.”

A former prop who captained England Saxons in 2006, Barnes’ playing career spanned 14 years. He played for Newcastle Falcons, where he won the 1997/98 Premiership title, Harlequins and Bath, where he featured in a club-record 270 professional first team games.

In 2006, Barnes featured in an England XV side against the Barbarians and he also represented the Barbarians on four occasions.