Martyn Phillips, right, congratulates Geraint John on his appointment to the WRU Executive Board
Geraint John has been appointed to the Executive Board of the Welsh Rugby Union as its new Head of Rugby Performance.
It is highly significant that Martyn has identified the need to split the former Head of Rugby role into two parts to allow each of us to focus on and therefore do justice to each key area.
John returned to Wales in September as the WRU's Elite Coach Development Manager after ten years working abroad - with Rugby Canada as High Performance Manager and then Sevens Head Coach before joining the Australian Rugby Union as Program Director of Sevens and Men's Sevens Head Coach in June 2014.
The former Wales assistant/skills coach, who has also coached at Llanelli, Cardiff Met and Cardiff Blues, takes up one of two new WRU Executive Board positions created to replace the 'Head of Rugby' post recently vacated by Josh Lewsey.
He will work alongside a new 'Head of Rugby Participation' allowing John to focus on the professional game in Wales, with his new colleague - yet to be appointed - tasked with giving the amateur game a voice at Welsh rugby's top table.
"Geraint has impressed everyone since his return to Welsh rugby last year," said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips.
"His ten years away from Wales have benefited him hugely exposing him to high performance environments, World Cups and the Sevens circuit and working with governing bodies and World Rugby.
"Even more importantly he is a natural collaborator and relationships builder. I'm in no doubt that he will be a catalyst for greater alignment and common purpose in the professional game in Wales."
As WRU Head of Rugby Performance John will focus on the professional and semi-professional game in Wales, developing the high performance strategy and ensuring a close working relationship between national team management, regional and Principality Premiership coaches.
He will also lead the development of bespoke programmes for players identified as future national talent, have responsibility for ensuring that Wales performs to its potential in all international pathway competitions and will ensure a clear purpose and ambition for Principality Premiership rugby in Wales.
"I'm thrilled and very honoured to be taking on the challenge of a role which is so integral to both the current and future success of our national game," said John.
"It is highly significant that Martyn has identified the need to split the former Head of Rugby role into two parts to allow each of us to focus on and therefore do justice to each key area.
"I am looking forward to working closely with the regions, the Premiership clubs and everyone concerned so that collectively we can ensure that Wales reaches its potential and beyond on the world stage, as part of the high performance programme. To do this, I look forward to engaging all strands of the game as we work to achieve those aims"
Applications for the post of WRU Head of Rugby Participation have now closed and an announcement is expected soon.
This role, which will work alongside the WRU Head of Rugby Performance, will provide a voice for the community game on the WRU's Executive Board, driving participation levels in the amateur game with a renewed focus on mini, schools, youth, women's and 2nd team club rugby.
Key responsibilities for the Head of Rugby Participation will also include ensuring a clear purpose and ambition for the National leagues up to SSE SWALEC Championship level, increasing participation of all rugby formats, both traditional and alternative and providing a focal point for referees.
Wales Head Coach Rob Howley talks to WRU TV's Sebastian Barrett about the 36-man squad he has just named for the forthcoming Under Armour series, which includes two uncapped players, Ospreys duo Sam Davies and Rory Thornton.
Head coach Rowland Phillips is deligthed he can now call BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park home for his Wales Women's side, who launch their international season next month with games against Scotland and UK Armed Forces in the heart of the capital city.
Wales Sevens star Sam Cross has put his home town club of Brynmawr on the map after winning a silver medal at the Rio Olympics with Team GB. His club have now honoured him by naming their players bar after him, as WRU TV discovered at the official launch, recently.
One of the newest members of the Principality Premiership, Bargoed admit it's proving to be a steep learning curve at the highest level, but are determined to become a force to be reckoned with. WRU TV visited the club last weekend when they took on Llanelli.
Table-topping Aberavon travel to north Wales to tackle RGC 1404 as both teams defend unbeaten starts to the season in the Principality Premiership. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie visited the Wizards to see how their preparations were going for the game of the weekend.
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
Both Bargoed and Swansea were seeking their first win of the Principality Premiership season this afternoon. It proved a fruitful day for the hosts - not only did they win, but Bargoed claimed a try bonus point.
Cardiff managed to keep their unbeaten record at home intact, but only just as Bridgend made them work extremely hard before the Blue and Blacks secured a hard fought Principality Premiership win at the BT Sport Arms Park last night.
Former Wales back row Andy Powell gives a guided tour of The Wern, home of Merthyr RFC, who are determined to prove a lot of people wrong and make their mark in their first season in the Principality Premiership.