Rob Howley insists Clive Woodward is still the man to lead the British & Irish Lions to New Zealand and reckons a break from rugby could even be good for the ex-England coach.
The former Wales captain says English rugby is on the brink of crisis after losing Rugby World Cup heroes Lawrence Dallaglio and Woodward within days of each other, but Howley, aiming to make his third successive Lions tour next year, believes Woodward is the mastermind to topple the All Blacks; even if he does launch a new career in football.
"It will be to the Lions' benefit that Clive will not have a foot in both the England and the Lions camp when it comes to preparation and selection," said Howley. "I know Graham Henry found it particularly difficult to do two jobs at once in 2001. He had to do a big job for Wales but also get things in place for the Lions.
"Instead Clive will now have time to travel up and down the country, as well as going to Ireland, Wales and Scotland to watch players and make his plans. He will go to New Zealand as probably the best prepared coach the Lions could hope for.
"It is a huge blow for England because he has done a fantastic job for the last seven years and questions must be asked at the top. I know Lawrence retired in order to spend more time with his family and there will always be a long line of quality players coming through, but when you lose your captain and coach in the space of a week, you have to wonder what is going on."
Howley, who underwent surgery on his right wrist in the summer, remains hopeful of making it a hat-trick of Lions tours after touring South Africa in 1997 and Australia in 2001 and has pencilled in September 21st for the crunch date. He said: "That's hopefully when I will get the cast off my wrist and get the all clear to resume full-training, then my season will start."
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.