British & Irish Lions Tour Manager Gerald Davies and Head Coach Ian McGeechan announced today in Dublin the coaching and key backroom staff for the 2009 Tour to South Africa.
The Wales Grand Slam winning trio of coaches Shaun Edwards, Warren Gatland and Rob Howley will join McGeechan in South Africa and will be responsible for defence, forward and backs coaching respectively.
This talented group of internationally experienced coaches are joined in the management team by Craig White who will be responsible for the physical conditioning of the players; doctor James Robson, who will lead the medical team; Rhys Long who will oversee performance analysis and Greg Thomas who heads the media team.
Davies said, "Today is an important milestone in our preparation. The personnel announced today have the proven skill sets to ensure that the Lions squad is well prepared for the tour to South Africa next year.
"The cosmopolitan make-up of the management team reflects the modern nature of Rugby and they, like me, are well aware of the challenges that await us."
Commenting on the coaching appointments McGeechan said, "Lions tours are unique as we have to mold together players from four different countries. There has to be a unified, common approach on the tour with coaches and players working together.
"We therefore have to create a positive environment and appoint the right personnel to help devise the right strategies to take on the Springboks at home. I am delighted with today's appointments and confident that we can come together quickly as preparation time is always short.
"Working with coaches and personnel that I know well and who have successful track records and experience ensures that we will get the best out of the players and provide the greatest chance of winning the test series."
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.