Wales U20 head coach Jason Strange will take up a full-time role as Cardiff Blues backs and attack coach next season.
Former Newport and Bristol fly-half Strange oversaw the U20 Grand Slam in 2016 and has helped develop some of Wales’ most exciting young players, including Seb Davies and Jarrod Evans – both of whom he will coach at the Capital Region.
“I’ve really enjoyed the last four years working with Wales U20,” said Strange. “I’ve taken away some great experiences and memories, and worked with some really good people from a staff and player perspective.”
The last two seasons have seen eight of Strange’s U20 graduates gain full Welsh honours, with centre Owen Watkin one of the latest to be capped. He also gained valuable coaching experience at senior international level last autumn while on secondment with Canada.
“It’s been a privilege to watch the achievements of players who have come through the U20 ranks, whether they be at national squad, sevens or regional level,” he said. “Now seems the right time for me to take the next step, having served my apprenticeship at a semi-professional level with Ebbw Vale and with Wales U20. Having the opportunity to work in a day-to-day environment at Cardiff Blues will only help improve me as a coach.”
Strange said the age profile of the Cardiff Blues squad made the role even more attractive. “I believe it’s a good fit for myself and the region. They’ve got a young, talented squad that hasn’t reached its peak yet, and I want to help develop that. There’s a huge amount of growth left in the squad to achieve great things, both as individuals and as a team.
“The long-term vision for the region under new head coach John Mulvihill is also very exciting. I’m looking forward to working with the players, many of whom I’ve worked with before, and watching them play great rugby.”
Geraint John, the WRU’s Head of Rugby Performance, said: “We wish Jason well in his new role with Cardiff Blues. He has contributed a large amount to the development of youngsters in Welsh rugby over the last few years. The U20 programme will have helped him because it offers good grounding for the development of coaches – and future Welsh coaches – which is an area of particular focus for us.
“The experience he has gained from working in the international environment will certainly help him too, and he has gained valuable information and insight from meeting other coaches and travelling abroad.”