Martyn Williams is to take over from Alan Phillips as Wales team manager in January.
It’s the latest staff change in the national team set-up and the clearest attempt to break with the past as Phillips has been doing the job for 17 years.
The former Wales hooker is taking up a new role as director of operations for the British and Irish Lions.
Williams becomes the fourth former Wales captain to join head coach Wayne Pivac’s management team alongside Stephen Jones, Jonathan Humphreys and Sam Warburton.
The former flanker called time on his 16-year international career in 2012 and has since combined his business career with media work. He will continue to work as a partner at JP Private Clients and St James Place.
Phillips leaves the WRU after nearly 18 years in the role, more than 220 Test matches and five World Cups. He worked alongside Graham Henry, Steve Hansen, Gareth Jenkins and Warren Gatland as head coaches but now links up with the Lions to begin preparations for their 2021 tour to South Africa.
“Martyn is a fantastic appointment for us and it is great to have someone of his statue and experience in the role,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.
“Martyn has a wealth of international experience, 100 caps for Wales and three British & Irish Lions tours under his belt so he understands the test scene. He is hugely respected across the game, from players, coaches, supporters and media alike and I believe he will be a great addition to our management team.
“He will spend a few days with us next week as part of the Barbarians match preparations and will be in New Zealand with me next month as part of the planning recce ahead of next summer’s tour and then will begin the role full-time in January and I’m really looking forward to working with him.
“I would also like to wish Alan all the best in his new role. He has been a fantastic servant to Welsh rugby and will be a great asset to the Lions for their tour in 2021.”
Martyn Williams said: “I’m hugely delighted and honoured to be appointed team manager. It is an exciting role and I cannot wait to get started.
“Wayne has put together an experienced management team and we have an excellent crop of players here in Wales and I’m looking forward to working with them all.
“I hope to bring not only my rugby experience but experiences I have gathered from the world of business to role and help the squad in any way I can.
“I’d like to thank the team at JP Private Clients for the last seven years and for being so accommodating with this new role.
“Alan has done a fantastic job as team manager and I thoroughly enjoyed the environment and playing under him and I wish him all the best with the new role with the Lions.”
Phillips said: “I am hugely honoured to have been team manager for the past 18 years, it is a role I have thoroughly enjoyed and it will be an emotional day leaving.
“The British and Irish Lions has a very special place in my heart and it is a tremendous organisation and I cannot wait to start my new role and begin the preparations for the 2021 tour, a tour to the home of the world champions.”