The Welsh Rugby Union, in conjunction with the chief executives of the five new professional regions created and agreed for next season, have completed the selection process for the Head Coaches.
An interview panel comprising Steve Lewis (WRU General Manager), Terry Cobner (WRU Director of Rugby), Steve Hansen (WRU National Coach) and Rob Norster (Welsh Premiership clubs representative) conducted a number of interviews with candidates last Thursday and Friday.
After those interviews, discussions were held with the new regions and agreement was reached on the following appointments as Head Coach:
Bridgend/Pontypridd Region - Lynn Howells Currently Head Coach at Pontypridd, Lynn had a spell at Cardiff and was also Welsh caretaker coach on the summer tour to Japan in 2001.
Cardiff Region - David Young. Former Wales captain and three times Lions tourist, David took over as Head Coach at Cardiff this season.
Neath/Swansea Region - Lyn Jones
Newport/Ebbw Vale Region - Mike Ruddock. Currently Head Coach at Ebbw Vale, Mike began his coaching career at Cross Keys before moving on to Swansea. Won cup and league titles with the Whites and also guided them to victory over the World Champion Wallabies in 1992. Had a three year spell at Leinster before returning to Wales to take over at Ebbw Vale. Wales A coach, he was a caretaker coach with Wales at the 1995 World Cup.
Llanelli Region - Gareth Jenkins. Currently Director of Rugby at Llanelli, Gareth has been connected with the coaching set-up at the club for 20 years, winning the cup and league title and beating the 1992 Wallabies. He was Wales assistant coach to Alan Davies for three years in the 1990s.
"This is a vitally important day in the life of the new rugby regions we have created in conjunction with the Welsh Premiership clubs. The five Head Coaches will be charged with producing winning teams who can highly competitive in the Heineken Cup and Celtic League," said the WRU Rugby Manager, Steve Lewis.
"We went through a formal interview process with all the candidates because we felt it was vital that they heard from us what is expected of them, how they will be judged and what roles they need to fulfil.
"It was an excellent exercise that has brought the WRU, the new regions and the coaches closer together. Moving forward, the five coaches need to understand they are part of a team that is dedicated to improving the standard of Welsh rugby.
"We are in a new era of accountability and transparency in professional rugby and the WRU is determined to ensure that the highest standards are applied to all major appointments connected with the game at the highest level.
"'The five Head Coaches are all highly respected and highly successful men who we believe have the ability to make their teams major forces. All five will start off in the Heineken Cup and Celtic League next season, so they will have the opportunity to make an immediate impact on the biggest club stage in the northern hemisphere."