Shaun Edwards will be retained as the Wales national squad assistant coach for at least the next four years, the Welsh Rugby Union confirmed today after concluding negotiations to re-sign its highly sought after defence coach.
Edwards will remain at the side of head coach Warren Gatland up to and including the 2015 Rugby World Cup and, under the new deal, will now also be a part of the WRU National Academy system and so be able to pass on his considerable expertise to the players that will form Welsh rugby's international future as well as its present.
Edwards joined the WRU national squad coaching team in 2008 on a part time bais and, alongside Gatland and fellow coaches Rob Howley, Robin McBryde and Neil Jenkins oversaw Wales' RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam in his debut season as an international coach.
The former Rugby League playing great, who captained England in both League and Union at schoolboy level, began his coaching career in Union alongside Gatland at London Wasps in 2001, where the duo won three consecutive Premiership titles and the Heineken Cup during the four seasons they were together.
In 2009 the pair, with the WRU's blessing along with Howley and Jenkins, coached the British & Irish Lions on tour to South Africa under head coach Sir Ian McGeechan.
Once Edwards returned from the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand which saw Wales reach the semi-final stages for only the second time in their history, negotiations with WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis intensified as rugby institutions around the globe expressed their interest in his services.
"I concluded negotiations with Shaun over the week-end and am extremely pleased to be able to announce we have secured his services for the WRU up to and including the Rugby World Cup in 2015,"said Lewis.
"We have an outstanding team of coaches and back room staff working under WRU Head Coach, Warren Gatland, and Shaun's role as defence coach within that team is something quite unique.
"Talks began informally and discreetly in New Zealand with Shaun, and have continued over the past two weeks. I am particularly pleased to add that In addition to his extended senior national team duties under Warren, Shaun will also be working with WRU Head of Rugby, Joe Lydon, within the WRU National Academy.
"Shaun will work with the Wales U20's, 18's and 16's. This is part of our strategy to ensure our coaches have influence over our elite players early in their development."
"Under the terms of the contract Shaun will be released one day a week, save test match weeks, to work with an English Premiership club.
"However I have also negotiated the opportunity for Shaun to also work at times with Welsh Premiership clubs, which is particularly exciting for this level of our game.
"Our structures are in place both on and off the field to take us up to and beyond the Rugby World Cup in 2015, all underpinned by sound financial management.
"The Welsh rugby public, who have been so loyal to us all can look forward to the next four years with great anticipation."
Wales 7s captain Luke Treharne may have only played once on the World Series, but he has full confidence in his side as they prepare for the opening two rounds of this year's series in Dubai and South Africa, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
Wales 7s Manager Steff Thomas believes Luke Treharne has all the attriubutes to be a top class captain. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie hears his reasons why as the squad prepare for the opening two legs of the new World Series in Dubai and South Africa.
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
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.