Robin McBryde has been named Wales interim head coach for the summer tour of Japan
Robin McBryde is to step up as Interim Head Coach of Wales during the 2013 two-Test summer tour of Japan when Warren Gatland and Rob Howley are both on duty with the British & Irish Lions in Australia.
It is a privilege to coach my country and I will embark on this tour determined to get the best out of the squad against what I know will prove to be tough opposition.
It is the second time the Wales Assistant Coach has taken on the role following his successful stint in charge of the 2009 summer tour to Canada and the USA.
The WRU is hoping McBryde and his team can repeat the player development successes achieved during the 2009 tour of North America.
On that tour the national coaching team fielded five new caps including Sam Warburton, Jonathan Davies and Craig Mitchell who remain key contenders for Wales squad places.
McBryde will lead a powerful coaching team featuring Neil Jenkins, Shaun Edwards and newcomer Mark Jones as assistants for the tour which is being seen by the WRU as an opportunity to enhance the development pathway structure process.
The inclusion of Edwards and Jenkins ensures that McBryde will be able to draw on the experience and skill of the Warren Gatland coaching team through the build-up and delivery of the tour.
Mark Jones will be given an opportunity to boost his career development pathway within the Wales structure while offering his own proven level of expertise to the coaching mix.
The announcement of the British & Irish Lions backroom team has offered further opportunities for WRU coaching and backroom staff development within the senior environment.
The tour party led by 37 times capped McBryde will play Test matches in Osaka on Saturday, 8 June and Tokyo on Saturday, 15 June.
He said: "I am delighted and extremely proud to have again been handed the honour of leading Wales on an important tour.
"It is a privilege to coach my country and I will embark on this tour determined to get the best out of the squad against what I know will prove to be tough opposition.
"It is inevitable that some of our leading players will be on Lions duty but the last tour I took charge of proved that it is possible to identify and blood some stars of the future in these games.
"I already have a great coaching relationship with Neil and Shaun but I am really looking forward to working closely with Mark Jones who fully deserves this opportunity to step onto the international stage."
In 2009 McBryde and his team awarded first caps to Warburton, Davies, Mitchell, Jonathan Spratt and Daniel Evans during the tour from which Wales emerged with two victories.
Current Wales squad analyst Andy Hughes will lead the backroom analysts team in Japan in place of Rhys Long and Rhodri Bown who will be in Australia with the British & Irish Lions. Hughes will be supported by Marc Kinnaird who is already a member of the WRU analysts department working with the 7's squad. He will shortly join the U20's backroom team for their Six Nations tournament as part of his development within the structure.
The medical team in Japan will include National Team Doctor, Geoff Davies, Physiotherapist Mark Davies, Physiotherapist Craig Ranson and masseuse, Angela Rickard. The WRU National Medical Performance Manager, Prav Mathema will be with the Lions in Australia. Assistant strength and conditioning coaches Dan Baugh and John Ashby plus Sport Scientist Ryan Chambers will travel to Japan.
National Team Manager, Alan Phillips, will again oversee and organise tour facilities and team arrangements during the Japan trip.
WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, said: "The coaching team we have announced for the Japan tour is evidence of how the development pathway in Wales is working effectively for Welsh rugby.
"The group we have established represents an ideal mix of huge talent from the current Warren Gatland set up combined with some of our best young prospects for the future in a range of disciplines.
"To have young and emerging coaches and backroom staff learning from the likes of Shaun, Neil and Robin is a great opportunity for everyone selected to travel to Japan.
"Robin has already proved he can lead Wales successfully on tour and this time the presence of Shaun will be an added bonus which is bound to help our preparations.
"Neil is expanding his coaching remit all the time and I know Mark Jones is a coach of quality who will take an important step forward in his own career development.
"With new faces in the rest of the backroom team from within our structure this is an important step forward in our commitment to player and coach development.
"I know our Head of Rugby, Joe Lydon, has been working hard on the international coaching structures and we will have more exciting developments to announce soon."
WRU Head of Rugby, Joe Lydon, said: "This is a full, senior tour for Wales with all the pressures of senior international rugby, but there are undoubtedly development opportunities on and off the field.
"We cannot afford to be complacent about the development of our staff and therefore we must grasp any and every opportunity to help all our talented individuals fulfil their potential."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.