Rhys Edwards takes new Wales women rugby role

Rhys Edwards
Under Rhys Edwards, Wales finished the 2015 Women's Six Nations in fifth place

Wales women have appointed Rhys Edwards as head coach and elite programme lead, overseeing the sevens side as well as the full senior team.

Edwards had been head coach since 2011, leading Wales to eighth place at last year's World Cup in France.

He will be assisted by Wales women sevens coach and former Wales flanker Richie Pugh.

"I am honoured to be part of this programme and we have a very talented player base," said Edwards.

"We continually compete against the best teams in the world and, as we proved against England in the Six Nations, we can beat them when we perform. Our challenge is to be consistent."

Edwards has signed a new three-day-a-week contract, allowing him to combine his new role with his work as a teacher at Caldicot School.

The newly created role will include responsibility for forging closer links to the regional game, as well as creating partnerships with colleges and universities.

Edwards' immediate aim is for the sevens squad to qualify for the Women's Sevens World Series.

"We have an opportunity to achieve this goal in Dublin next month after being drawn with Brazil, Japan and Samoa in a competition where the top two finishers qualify for 2015-16 Women's Sevens Series," he said.

"The longer term aim is for us to be competing on the World Series regularly and then achieve qualification to the Commonwealth Games."

WRU national women's rugby manager Caroline Spanton added: "It is an exciting new era with a great coaching and support team now in place to set us up for future high profile events such as the World Cup [in 2017] and the Commonwealth Games [in 2018]."