Lewsey named WRU's Head of Rugby
August 30, 2013
Josh Lewsey was a World Cup winner with England in 2003 © Getty Images
Former England international Josh Lewsey has been appointed as the Welsh Rugby Union's (WRU) new head of rugby.
The Rugby World Cup and Heineken Cup winner will join the WRU at the end of September to take up his new role that will see the 36-year-old take operational and strategic management of the whole of the game in Wales from community to elite level outside Warren Gatland's senior international squad.
Lewsey, who won 55 caps for England but could have represented Wales thanks to his Welsh mother, is currently serving as acting chief executive of Cornish Pirates but will part company with the English Championship side next month to take up his new role. He will fill the void left by Joe Lydon who was appointed head of international player development for the Rugby Football Union earlier this year.
"I am delighted to have been offered this opportunity to play a pivotal role in ensuring the strength and wellbeing of the national sport of Wales," said Lewsey. "Everyone involved in rugby knows how passionate the whole of Wales is about the sport so I am fully aware of the huge responsibility I am accepting.
"This a challenge and an opportunity I am determined to seize with total commitment and I promise everyone in Wales I will give my all to the task ahead. A key driver for me is to balance the focus between the elite and community games in a way which establishes a long term sustainable platform for rugby in Wales."
Gatland, who coached Lewsey during his time as Wasps boss, is looking forward to working with him once again. "I know Josh well from his playing days at Wasps and he is a determined and focused individual who will bring immense passion, energy and rugby knowledge to the role," he said. "Josh will understand the strategies and procedures we have put in place at a senior national level and he will play a pivotal role in ensuring the whole of Welsh rugby operates in a joined up structure."
Lewsey had a glittering 19-year long career as a player for Bristol, Wasps and England - most notably lifting the sport's biggest prize in 2003. A former Troop Commander in the Royal Artillery, he also played for England Sevens at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and won three caps for the British & Irish Lions on their 2005 tour of New Zealand.
He retired from playing in 2009 to take up a career in management in the City and the WRU believes he has "a unique skillset primarily aimed at strategy, systems and organisational performance."
"He is passionate about the game and undoubtedly has the experience and determination to make a huge and positive difference for Welsh rugby," said WRU chief executive Roger Lewis.
"We carried out a thorough search of the available candidates and Josh won through from an extremely strong group of final candidates. He joins us at a time when the international game in Wales is extremely successful and he knows we are determined to cascade that strength throughout the whole of Welsh rugby.
"Our goal is to continue to build and develop the strength of the elite game and focus hard on making Welsh rugby a sport everyone wants to participate in either as a player, official, volunteer or fan at all levels...I know he will bring his own vision and goals to the role and that is an exciting prospect for the whole of Welsh rugby."
WRU chairman David Pickering also welcomed the appointment, commenting: "Josh Lewsey is an excellent addition to our executive team and is ideally qualified to develop Welsh rugby at all levels and throughout Wales.
"His rugby, education and business record speak for themselves and he will bring enormous energy and passion to his role as Head of Rugby. He has strong family ties to Wales and undoubtedly shares our passion for achieving excellence across our remit as a governing body. He knows a lot of hard work lies ahead but he has all the skills to make a difference in his exciting and challenging role."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker