Wales physical performance manager Craig White has left his role to pursue a new academic career, the Welsh Rugby Union have confirmed.
White, who has previously worked with Wasps, Leicester, Ireland, the Lions and Bolton Wanderers, joined the Wales staff in the summer of 2008 but he will step down from his role to move to Thailand to undertake a doctorate in nutrition and health.
The move is something of a surprise with there being just 10 months until the World Cup in New Zealand, and comes in the wake of a disappointing autumn campaign that saw Wales pick up just a draw against Fiji from their four games.
White's work with the national squad will now pass to head strength and conditioning coach Adam Beard, with further changes to be revealed in the New Year.
White said: "I have enjoyed working with some great people here in Wales, but with my focus now on new career horizons I have decided to leave in January to allow a new structure to plan and build towards Rugby World Cup 2011.
"I always devote myself totally to any challenge I accept so it would be wrong to continue in place while I was pursuing this new career direction.
"I have made a lot of good friends in Wales and I will be watching the team's progress with interest and wish them all well for the challenges ahead."
Wales head coach Warren Gatland, who previously worked with White with Wasps and Ireland, added: "Craig White has made a huge contribution to Welsh rugby which has helped the squad achieve excellent fitness and conditioning levels.
"Craig has also been instrumental in helping us restructure our systems and structures in alignment to the four Welsh Regions which is another important factor in our continued improvement.
"I want to thank him personally and on behalf of Welsh rugby for the skill and dedication he has shown throughout his time in Wales."