Head of Rugby
Joe Lydon took up his initial role as Head of Rugby Performance and Development in December 2008 and has been given the task of ensuring the game thrives as the national sport of Wales. The former Director of the Wigan Warriors Rugby League side reports directly to the Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis in a role which sees him manage a new WRU development structure which oversees the elite game through to its roots in the community clubs and schools.
Lydon earned legendary status as a rugby league outside back playing over 300 first team games with Widnes, Wigan and Sydney City Roosters as well as gaining 30 international caps for Great Britain.
A stellar professional career spanning over 12 years saw Lydon gain a host of team and individual awards which included the sport's Player of the Year in 1984 (Man of Steel Award), Lance Todd Trophy (Challenge Cup Final Man of the Match) and Harry Sunderland trophy (Premiership Final Man of the Match). He was a Challenge Cup final winner on five occasions with Wigan between 1988 and 1993.
After retiring from rugby league he became the Wigan Team Manager and then Performance Director of the Rugby Football League. In his role at the Rugby Football League, Lydon was responsible for winning the sport's first multi-million pound World Class Performance lottery bid from Sport England, an award that has provided significant help in driving the game forward in the UK.
After swapping league for rugby union, he progressed from being England U19 and then Sevens head coach to become backs coach for the senior England team in the course of seven years.
He manages a new structure which oversees the elite rugby development pathway including age grade, sevens and women's squads along with a remit to take charge of the community game across all the divisions. He is also tasked with forging a strong relationship with Warren Gatland and the national squad to ensure that all the systems and structures throughout professional rugby in Wales are aligned to the requirements of the national team.