Lewsey handed Wales role
England World Cup winner Josh Lewsey has been appointed as the new head of rugby for Wales, the Welsh Rugby Union has announced.
The 36-year-old, who retired in 2009 after winning 55 caps and making three Test appearances for the British and Irish Lions, will begin his new role at the end of September.
Joining the executive board of the WRU, Lewsey will take on operational and strategic management of the whole of the game in Wales from community to elite level outside the senior international squad.
"I'm delighted to have been offered this opportunity to play a pivotal role in ensuring the strength and well-being of the national sport of Wales," Lewsey said.
"Everyone involved in rugby knows how passionate the whole of Wales is about the sport so I'm fully aware of the huge responsibility I'm accepting.
"This is a challenge and an opportunity I'll approach with total commitment and I promise everyone in Wales I'll 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 that establishes a long-term sustainable platform for rugby in Wales."
Upon hanging up his boots four years ago, Lewsey pursued a career in management in London before becoming acting chief executive of Cornish Pirates earlier this year, a position he is to relinquish.
He graduated from Bristol University with a BSc (honours) in physiology and later achieved a second degree from the College of Law in London.
In 2001 he was commissioned from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and ultimately qualified as a Troop Commander in the Royal Artillery.
WRU chief executive Roger Lewis declared that Lewsey, who succeeds another Englishman in Joe Lydon, was the outstanding candidate for the role.
"We carried out a thorough search of the available candidates and Josh won through from an extremely strong group of final candidates," Lewis said.
"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.
"Josh is particularly committed to making a significant difference within grassroots rugby across Wales, both within clubs and schools.
"He has experience driving initiatives within the community game which will be a clear advantage in his new role."
Lewsey spent all but one year of his club career at Wasps, working alongside Warren Gatland from 2002 to 2005 when the current Wales head coach was director of rugby at Adams Park.
"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," Gatland 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."