Regional Coaching Trio To Join McBryde On Wales’ Pacific Islands Tour

Three Wales regional coaches will join the coaching set-up for next summer’s tour to the Pacific Islands.

Cardiff Blues head coach Danny Wilson, his attack coach Matt Sherratt and Scarlets backs coach Stephen Jones will join tour head coach Robin McBryde for the two-Test series, alongside existing national squad management next June.

McBryde is leading the tour with Rob Howley joining Warren Gatland with the British Lions in New Zealand.

The appointment of three coaches from the Regional game in Wales is seen as a significant step forward for coach development and succession planning and is representative of the close working relationship between the WRU and the Regions.

“This is an important announcement that provides an opportunity to give three senior Regional coaches the chance to work in the international coaching environment, with a view to us both learning from them and adding to the personal development of each individual,” said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips.

“We have a clear strategy in Welsh Rugby, with coaching and coach development a central priority at all levels of the game.

“It will be of tangible benefit to Welsh Rugby in the long term that, within a small window during their coaching careers, we are able to provide significant development opportunities to Danny, Matt and Stephen mirroring the opportunities given to Warren, Rob (with the British & Irish Lions) and Robin (as head coach).

“The intention is also that these appointments will further unite the key professional coaches in Wales, leading to even better relationships and sharing and alignment of coaching philosophy. We see this as the start of a push to work closely with the Regional coaches and very much intend to involve additional coaches in the years ahead as opportunities arise.”

Cardiff Blues head coach Wilson returned to the regional game in 2015 from Bristol having previously worked at both the Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons.  As Wales U20 head coach, Wilson led the age-grade side to a second (2013) and third (2012) place finish in the World Rugby U20 Championship.

Sherratt was part of Wales’ coaching team for the 2016 Under Armour Series, which saw Wales win three out of their four encounters – equaling their previous best run of results in an autumn campaign, in 2002 – and will link back up with the squad for the summer tour which comes after the conclusion of Cardiff Blues’ season.

Double Grand Slam-winning former Wales fly-half Jones, who represented his country on 104 occasions, began his coaching career at Wasps after retiring from playing in 2013 and returned to his native Scarlets as backs coach in 2015.

The trio will link up with the national squad, led by McBryde for a third time (previously USA & Canada 2009 and Japan 2013), ahead of the June 2017 tour, with specific fixtures against Tonga and Samoa to be confirmed.

“We are delighted announce that Danny, Matt and Stephen will be joining the set-up for next summer’s tour,” said McBryde

“The appointments will not only be hugely beneficial to the national squad, but to the whole game in Wales providing an opportunity for all three coaches to further enhance their coaching experience.

“Next summer we are going to be facing two passionate rugby nations, it will be a challenge for both players and coaches, but also an opportunity for us all.”

In addition to the above appointments, Alex Lawson joins the national squad as assistant strength and conditioning coach through to the conclusion of the 2017 summer tour.  Lawson joins the physical performance department which is led by interim head of physical performance Huw Bennett.

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