WRU National Academy manager Phil Davies today outlined his plans to enhance the development of potential elite players, coaches and match officials within the new Academy system, and announced the coaches of the Wales international pathway teams (Wales U20, U18, Wales Sevens and Wales Women) for the next two seasons, subject to an end-of-season review.
The National Academy has been established to add value to current regional performance and development programmes. The National Academy process is targeted at those players, coaches and match officials within the regional programme who demonstrate the potential to play for Wales at the highest level.
The philosophy of the WRU National Academy is to be:
1) Player and coach centred
2) Development driven
3) Competition supported
The make-up of the international pathway coaching teams includes a great deal of consistency from last season, with all head coaches – Phil Davies (U20), Paul John (Wales Sevens), Jason Lewis (Wales Women) and Simon King (Wales U18) re-appointed for another spell in charge. The only current changes to the teams see Cardiff coach Lee Jarvis joining the Under 20 set-up in place of Gareth Baber, who will concentrate on his roles as Blues skills coach, and Dan Cottrell replacing Aled Thomas as Wales Women assistant coach. Both Jarvis and Cottrell held attached roles with their respective international teams last season and are stepping up to assistant coach level. Former Wales Women captain Kylie Wilson remains Wales Women Under 20 head coach, assisted by Chris Garrett.
Jason Lewis will lead the Triple Crown holding Wales Women side to the Women’s Rugby World Cup in England at the end of the season, while Simon King’s Wales U18 will host the Under 18 Six Nations festival at Easter.
Wales Sevens news: In order to build on the success of the Wales Sevens side, the current Rugby World Cup Sevens champions, Paul John has been appointed as a full-time member of the National Academy staff, concentrating on Sevens coaching and providing additional skills coaching within the Academy set-up.
John’s squad will benefit from the announcement that up to ten players will be contracted as ‘core’ Sevens squad members for the IRB Sevens World Series this season, a mixture of experienced Sevens players and young players who will benefit from the exposure and rugby development this will provide.
Subject to selection the Core squad player will travel to all 8 of the IRB World Sevens Series, with members of a wider Sevens squad completing the twelve man group on each occasion. David Jenkins, who has managed the Sevens team since its return to international rugby four years ago, continues as team manager, with the Wales Sevens assistant coaches to be announced in due course.
WRU Head of Rugby Performance and Development, Joe Lydon said, “The new National Academy, under Phil Davies has been recognised by the WRU and the four Regions as a level of development that will enhance the work carried out by the Regions and provide a focussed approach to the management of the international pathway teams.
“The appointment of Paul John as full-time Sevens coach will give Sevens the focus and impetus it deserves, not only following the side’s success, but with its projected forthcoming status as an Olympic sport going forward. Contracting a core squad is a vital step in providing stability and consistency of selection, and in the development of young players for the professional game in Wales.”
Wales international pathway coaching teams 2009/2011:
Manager: David Jenkins
Head Coach: Paul John
Assistant coaches: tbc
Manager: Donna Crossman
Head coach: Jason Lewis
Assistant coach: Dan Cottrell
Attached coach: Liza Burgess
Wales Under 20
Manager: Tony Clement
Head Coach: Phil Davies
Assistant Coaches: Rob Hoadley and Lee Jarvis
Wales Women Under 20
Head coach: Kylie Wilson
Assistant coach: Chris Garrett
Team manager: tbc
Wales Under 18
Manager: Mark Taylor
Head Coach: Simon King
Assistant Coaches: Dale McIntosh and Darren Edwards