"The other coaches on the trip are also part of Warren's strong coaching structure and they all understand the systems thoroughly. While our coaches and backroom staff travelling with the British and Irish Lions will bring back a huge new store of knowledge, the team heading for North America will also reap the rewards of taking on new responsibilities with all the demands that entails.
"The WRU is particularly proud that no less than five members of the successful coaching team it has assembled have been granted the honour of coaching the British Lions.
"Warren Gatland, Rob Howley, Shaun Edwards, Craig White and Rhys Long go to Lions duty with our blessing and absolute approval and we regard their appointments as a great accolade for Welsh rugby. Their experiences on tour will help keep them at the forefront of the ever-changing world of elite rugby and pay inevitable long term dividends to Wales' preparations for the 2011 Rugby World Cup."
Wales coach Warrend Gatland added: "Part of my role is to structure a coaching succession policy and that will only be achieved if key individuals are given the opportunities to develop their skills under pressure.
"The tour of North America will be a challenging experience, but I am confident Robin and the rest of his coaching team will underscore the strategies and processes we have all discussed and refined as a team.
"We will be building towards the North America tour throughout the Six Nations so all of the coaches will have an important input into the preparations and selection for the trip.
"Robin will be his own man, but we will also be in regular contact to talk through his plans."
The extra role of temporary assistant coach for Wales' summer tour will be filled shortly and discussions are already underway to identify potential candidates.