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.
British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is looking forward to bringing together players from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales for the biggest challenge of their careers - a series against world champions, New Zealand.
For the fifth year running, Wales referee Nigel Owens will be in charge of proceedings at Judgement Day V at Principality Stadium. It promises to be 'extra special' for the Wales' favourite ref, as he will be making his 150th appearance in the league.
There will be no shortage of inside knowledge from Bowl Finalists Caerphilly and Amman United when they face each other on Sunday at National Finals Day. Caerphilly hooker Rhys Cleverly knows the Principality Stadium pitch better than most as a matchday groundsman, while Amman United can look to Wales' record try scorer Shane Williams for some helpful advice.
Two hundred and 40 teams competed in the inaugural Urdd WRU 7s held at Pencoed last week with Welsh internationals Steff Andrews and Jasmine Joyce impressed with the talent on display, as was Urdd chief executive, Sioned Hughes.
The countdown is on for Judgement Day V as tickets for the big day at Principality Stadium soar through the 50,000 mark. Players and coaches alike are bursting at the seams to play in the double header with Dragons coach Kingsley Jones claiming there is a 'real buzz' about the event.
WRU TV went behind the scenes when the four regions got together to test their skill set for the BBC's Scrum V Live rugby show, at the WRU National Centre of Excellene in the build up to Judgement Day V. Blues' Matthew Morgan was one of the stars of the show while the Dragons' Cory Hill proved a surprise package...the full set of results will be revealed on tv screens on matchday
Wales assistant coach Richie Pugh is confident his side can cause a few headaches in the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend. In a tough group, Wales kick off their campaign against New Zealand on Friday before playing Japan and Fiji, who are chasing their third consecutive Hong Kong title, on Saturday.
Bedwas had to overcome a stubborn Carmarthen Quins side before winning the Foster's Challenge Cup final in Bridgend with a 23-18 victory. Bedwas captain Nicky Griffiths pays tribute to his side who have claimed the club's first piece of silverware in the modern era.
Team coach Brett Davey is aiming to keep his unbeaten run in cup finals at Principality Stadium intact when his side take on Amman United in the WRU Bowl final, after he guided Caerphilly to a 20-14 win against Cilfynydd in the semi-finals.
Penallta are hoping to go one step further than last season when falling to Bedlinog in the WRU Plate Final. After a titanic struggle against Nant Conwy, they have given themselves a great chance, after a hard fought 18-13 semi-final victory.
The unique jeopardy of Judgement Day V has been described by stars from Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons who will face each other in the annual double-header at Principality Stadium on 15th April.