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.
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.
Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams looks back on the Rio Sevens success where he helped GB win silver. He believes the successful campaign is a huge boost to his Welsh squad as they prepare for another World Series, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be heading back home to take on the All Blacks next year where for him, success for 2017 is all about going to New Zealand and winning a Test Series.
Last week all roads led to Eugene Cross Park where defending champions Ebbw Vale hosted this season's launch of the Principality Premiership. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie was there to capture the thoughts of Damien Hudd, captain of Ebbw Vale, and WRU Head of Performance, Geraint John.
Llandovery made it three in a row when they defeated Aberavon in the final of the National Foster's 7s at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday. On another eventful day of sevens, Newport claimed the Plate and the Dragons won the women's crown
Last week saw Cardiff welcome players from around the world for the 21st Golden Oldies Festival. The tournament features players over 35 years of age, and this year's event saw a select few represent the WRU in a 'friendly' against the Wooden Spoon.
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.