Beard to leave Wales role for NFL
Wales' head of physical performance Adam Beard is to leave his post for a new job in the NFL.
The Welsh Rugby Union announced that Beard has secured a director of high performance position with an NFL franchise in the United States
During Beard's tenure, Wales have installed state-of-the art fitness facilities at the WRU national centre of excellence, with new cryotherapy and altitude chambers to enhance training protocols.
Pre-World Cup training and conditioning camps have already been confirmed in Switzerland, Qatar, Poland and north Wales this summer, although news of Beard's exit comes just six months before that tournament kicks off.
" I want to congratulate Adam on his new appointment and thank him for putting in place a performance plan which has placed our player fitness standards on a new level," Wales head coach Warren Gatland said.
" The team he is part of now work to systems and structures which are precise, effective and challenging to all the players we select and monitor.
"Because the conditioning and nutrition team are working to a closely devised plan, we can ensure that we look for the very best person to replace Adam.
"While I am disappointed that Adam is leaving before the World Cup, this is an opportunity that only comes around once in a lifetime, and to attract this interest from the NFL shows how far our high performance reputation has grown in recent years."
And Beard added: "W hile I am disappointed to miss out on an exciting year ahead, I am confident we have put in place an excellent performance programme and have the team in place to deliver it.
"I think Wales has some of the best practitioners in the game, and I have enjoyed working closely with them to provide a platform for our players to flourish on the international stage.
"The decision to go was undoubtedly made easier because of the strong team in place, along with the outstanding facilities we now have in place here in Wales.
" We have been developing our high performance protocols for a number of years now, and the plans for Rugby World Cup are already in place. I look forward to monitoring Wales' progress closely."