David Barnes has been appointed the new Rugby Football Union (RFU) head of discipline. The former England Saxons, Newcastle and Bath star is to take over from Gerard McEvilly. The 40-year old is expected to resume in the new capacity in about a week.

Barnes has been with the RFU since 2014, working in a citing officer role. He worked on appointments for the Premiership, Greene King IPA Championship and World Rugby. He was the former chair of the Rugby Players’ Association before he assumed the role of rugby operations director.

The chief executive of the RFU Ian Ritchie says Barnes would be “very valuable” as the head of discipline due to his wealth of experience as a former player and citing officer. Ritchie adds that Barnes’ understanding of the game would help him offer the discipline department a lot.

The RFU boss took time to thank Gerard – who is immigrating to Australia – for his services. He said Gerard’s five year service helped drive the high standards in line with the game’s core values. He adds that Gerard left the disciplinary department in “a very strong position.”

Barnes played for the Barbarians on a few occasion, featuring in the England XV side against the Barbarians as well. He led the England Saxons in 2006, playing the game for about a decade and half before he retired. At Bath, Barnes holds the club record of 270 pro first team games.

“I am 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,” The former prop said.