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Josh Lewsey leaves Wales role for personal reasons

Published 11/11/2015

Former World Cup winner Josh Lewsey, pictured with the Webb Ellis Cup, is leaving his position as the Welsh Rugby Union's head of rugby
Former World Cup winner Josh Lewsey, pictured with the Webb Ellis Cup, is leaving his position as the Welsh Rugby Union's head of rugby

Josh Lewsey has announced his resignation as the Welsh Rugby Union's head of rugby.

The England 2003 World Cup winner will be leaving the WRU in January, by which time he will have spent nearly two-and-a-half years in Wales.

Lewsey joined the WRU in August 2013, but said his decision to leave Wales was based on personal reasons.

After his playing career ended in 2009, Lewsey worked in management consultancy and as an equities sales trader.

The 38-year-old then spent six months as interim chief executive of the Cornish Pirates rugby team before moving to Wales.

"I came to work here with a specific focus in mind, seeing the opportunity and need to address the underlying structures whilst the national team were so successful," Lewsey said.

"Clearly there is still lots to address, not least some misperceptions, but plans are already under way to do so.

"Alhough such changes will take a while to have their full effect, with Martyn (Phillips, the new WRU group chief executive) now taking the reins, I'm confident that the momentum can be maintained.

"I can leave with these things in good hands... and if we can also reach a collective approach there then the foundations of Welsh rugby really will be moving to a good place.

"To avoid speculation and be entirely honest, alongside the above reaching a stage that it can be self-sustaining, there have been some developments over the last year relating to personal matters, meaning that I couldn't continue to be in Wales on a full-time basis."

Phillips, who succeeded Roger Lewis as WRU chief executive earlier this month, praised Lewsey for the "dedication, energy and vision" he has brought to Welsh rugby.

"There is no doubt his principle achievement across the past two years has been to drive strategic change and put in place a club hub structure which is already proving successful in introducing a new core of young players into the game," Phillips said.

"Before he steps down from the WRU, he and I will work on the succession planning in order to maintain the momentum he has created for the game in Wales."

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