Craig White, the conditioning coach brought in as part of the Wales fitness team by head coach Warren Gatland in the summer, has been elevated to a new role by the Welsh Rugby Union and will now take responsibility for co-ordinating all aspects of physical performance at the top end of the game.
White assumes the position of National Squad Performance Manager with immediate effect and is contracted until after the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
This position of increased managerial responsibility for the former Wasps and Leicester Tigers fitness guru means he will now co-ordinate all physical performance areas for the national squad, although he will initially remain a hands on coach working throughout the Regions as he has done since arriving in Wales.
White will report directly to Gatland, but maintain strong links with the newly appointed (May) National Performance Manager Huw Wiltshire to ensure consistency of approach throughout the WRU leading through to the national squad.
"In my short experience in Wales, we have the potential for establishing a truly world class environment for the production of top class players and this has stood out in comparison to all the other places I have worked," said White.
"The one overriding thing we have in our favour as a nation is the heavy concentration of rugby talent in what is just a small area in terms of the geography of the country.
"Those bare facts present a golden opportunity for us to nurture the playing talent we have available to us and, at international level, leaves us with no excuses as to why each and every individual who comes through should not reach their true potential.
"From a personal point of view I am very much looking forward to this new role and, whilst I want to continue to maintain hands on coaching contact with the national squad in the immediate future, the role will also involve more co-ordinating and management duties."
White will co-ordinate the following key areas in relation to the national squad: Physical Conditioning, Injury Prevention Strategies, Rehabilitation, Nutrition, Sports Science and Performance Monitoring.
"We are in pretty good shape already and the players we are working with at the moment are in a position to maintain the healthy state of Welsh rugby for the short term," he continued.
"We have a squad that could go head to head with any in the world game at the moment physically and come out favourably on their day.
"But the important factor is to not only maintain those high standards, but to continually improve them as the squad evolves, to stand us in good stead for years to come and that is the very crux of this new role.
"We also need to close any gap that may exist between those within the national squad and on the fringes."
White is one of rugby's most highly respected conditioning coaches, he joined Gatland's backroom line-up, charged with building the Wales team towards the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011, prior to the two-Test tour of South Africa in June.
"I have worked with Craig at London Wasps and in Ireland and I know the talent and tireless dedication he will bring to this role with Wales will be of great benefit to the players," said Gatland.
"He has the professional credentials, personality and management skills to really get to grips with all of the key physical performance areas of the national squad and to ensure that once that best practice is in place it permeates throughout the national game."
White's last UK role was as Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Leicester Tigers.
He has worked at the top level with London Wasps, the Irish Rugby Union, the British and Irish Lions and Leicester Tigers. Outside rugby he has an impressive track record in top class soccer with Bolton Wanderers and has studied with many experts from the worlds of elite sports and sports science.
Some of the most respected figures in rugby have spoken in the past of the high regard they hold him in as a fitness expert and trainer.
WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, said: "Craig is an extremely impressive individual who has an outstanding record and clearly operates at the forefront of his area of expertise. He has much to offer the game in Wales."
The former Leicester coach Pat Howard said: "Craig is without doubt one of the best trainers I have worked with and he has a bright future. If I had to use one word to describe Craig, his commitment to winning and improving standards, not just his own but also everyone else's, it would be, relentless."
Sir Clive Woodward said: "Craig is without doubt one of the best practitioners in his field. He is well respected in his field and I had no hesitation in selecting him on the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour."
From Ireland the international centre Brian O'Driscoll added: "The main reason all the lads enjoyed working with Craig is because the training he did with us was aimed not just at making us stronger, fitter and faster but aimed at making us better rugby players."
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