Wales Women head coach Rowland Phillips has confirmed his coaching team ahead of the upcoming autumn series.
Backs coach Gareth Wyatt, the former wing/fullback capped by Wales at all levels, continues in the position he first took up during this year’s Women’s Six Nations. Meanwhile, Phillips has a new recruit as forwards coach in former Ospreys, Dragons and Wales U20 hooker Hugh Gustafson.
“Gareth and Hugh are both rugby people, and while both have played to a high level they’ve also made great inroads into coaching, so they understand the environment we’re creating for the team,” explained Phillips.
Wyatt will leave a similar role he has held at Pontypridd, where he became a household name thanks to his try-scoring prowess, while Gustafson is currently academy skills coach at Ospreys, forwards coach for Swansea and head coach of Swansea University.
Phillips said: “They’re very in tune with how the women’s game is developing in Wales, and they’ve got a clear, detailed approach to the international game which will serve the women’s programme well going forward.
“Hugh has shown a lot of promise already, making a smooth transition from playing to coaching via the Principality Premiership, BUCS and Regional Age Grade pathways, so it’s an exciting move for him.”
On Wyatt’s continued involvement, after making a positive impression in his first spell with Wales Women earlier this year, Phillips said: “Gareth’s already worked with us through last year’s Women’s Six Nations, where he had an immediate positive impact. His involvement reinforces how women’s rugby is a viable coaching pathway.”
Wyatt will be replaced as Pontypridd backs coach by former player Paul Matthews.
Matthews made 70 appearances for Ponty between 2003 and 2008 as a creative centre who also captained the club. Following his retirement he took up club coaching roles with Merthyr and then Mountain Ash, in the meantime becoming heavily involved with the Blues regional development system at under 16 then at under 18 level.