Wales coach Robin McBryde during his session at the Principality Premiership Coaching Conference
The largest and most comprehensive Principality Premiership coaching conference to date took place on Saturday with members of Wales' national management team passing on their knowledge and best practices to coaches from across the Premiership.
The new Centre of Excellence in Ystrad Mynach hosted the conference, which included a mix of theory and practical sessions along with an open discussion forum.
Wales coaches Rob Howley and Robin McBryde formed part of the line-up of speakers along with National Medical Manager Prabhat Mathema and Head of Performance Analysis Rhys Long.
Members of each Principality Premiership coaching and management teams were in attendance and WRU National Academy Coaching Manager Allan Lewis was delighted with the success of the day.
"The day was a huge opportunity for Premiership coaches to gain an insight from those who have been part of Grand Slam and Lions Series winning coaching teams in recent years," said Lewis.
"The Principality Premiership plays a vital role in the development of players. The gap between Under 18, Premiership and professional rugby is forever decreasing and we are constantly looking to further bridge that gap by increasing standards in the Premiership.
"Almost all of our international players cut their teeth in the Principality Premiership, so it is vital we support the clubs as much as possible in their quest to improve themselves.
"It is fantastic that our National Team Management, who have been so successful in recent years, were able to share some examples of best practice in their various fields."
The morning's schedule included a session from Wales assistant coach Rob Howley on attack along with a key presentation on concussion from Prabhat Mathema. National Match Officials Manager Nigel Whitehouse began the afternoon session by detailing the refereeing structure for the Premiership, outlining the communication and collaboration between Premiership referees and coaches and discussing any issues facing the coaches including any introduction of law variations.
Robin McBryde conducted a contact area session before Rhys Long addressed the conference on analysis and McBryde said he believed the day was very beneficial.
"Days like today are a great chance for all the coaches to come together and share best practices," he said.
"It's an open forum where we discuss our methods and then have the opportunity to showcase it in a practical environment.
"Learning and understanding new ideas is key in coaching so hopefully there was a lot for everyone to take away."
Newly appointed Neath RFC Director of Rugby Rowland Phillips was one of the coaches in attendance and he was full of praise for the conference. Days like today are extremely beneficial," he said.
"Obviously the Premiership is very competitive but ultimately we are trying together to increase the level of the league and days like this really help the process.
"It gives us a chance to appreciate other ideas and help spread those throughout the league.
"Looking at the bigger picture, the Premiership has a role in developing players for regional rugby and then for the international game so it is good that we are all working together.
"Having the opportunity to listen to and work with the national squad coaches gives us all a really good understanding of what they are trying to do."
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.