WALES Women assistant coach Geraint Lewis will leave the Welsh Rugby Union in the spring to take up a new opportunity as a lecturer in sport at Coleg y Cymoedd.

Former Wales back row Lewis, who has been Wales Women forwards coach for the past two years, was part of the Wales U20 Grand Slam winning coaching team in 2016 and also carried out the roles of Wales U18 and Wales U19 head coach prior to joining the Wales Women coaching team on a full-time basis.

Since being appointed as a full-time WRU skills coach in December 2014, Lewis has gone on to build a reputation as a leading coach within the game.

“It has been a great privilege to work within both the male and female pathway in the last seven years and share lots of different and rewarding experiences with hard working and talented players over this time,” said Lewis, before adding: “I have also learnt from expert and knowledgeable staff across all departments, which I am sure will benefit me going forward.

“I have an exciting opportunity to broaden my skills through my new role as a lecturer in sport at Coleg y Cymoedd whilst also enabling me to combine this with coaching within the Rugby Academy. This presents a great opportunity to stay within player development through helping young people to reach their potential both in an academic and sporting sense.

“After the obvious unsettled period of recent times, I know and hope that all teams will further progress and that players and staff will continue to benefit and prosper from the challenges and experiences that international rugby offers at all levels.”

Wales Women head coach Ioan Cunningham paid tribute to Lewis’ influence in the Wales Women set-up, especially since Cunningham took up the reins ahead of the autumn.

“We wish Geraint all the very best in his new role. He has been fantastic since I’ve been involved with Wales Women and a big part of the coaching group. His knowledge is exceptional and delivery brilliant. You can see the progress our forwards made during the autumn series, especially in the line-out. Defensively too we were much more organized and more aggressive.                                           

“While we are sorry to see Geraint go, this is a very exciting time for the Wales Women programme and we have a fantastic opportunity for someone to come into our environment ahead of the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup next year. We will be working with players on full-time contracts for the first time alongside others on retainer agreements and looking to build on the improvements we made in the autumn.”

A new, full-time Wales Women assistant coach role has been advertised with the hope to appoint as early as possible in 2022.