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John appointed Head of Rugby Performance

New WRU Head of Rugby Performance Geraint John: Congratulated by WRU CEO Martyn Phillips
New WRU Head of Rugby Performance Geraint John: Congratulated by WRU CEO Martyn Phillips
New WRU Head of Rugby Performance Geraint John: Congratulated by WRU CEO Martyn Phillips

GERAINT JOHN has been appointed to the Executive Board of the Welsh Rugby Union as its new Head of Rugby Performance.

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.

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“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.