Welsh rugby's latest senior appointment underlines an enduring link that exists between Cardiff Metropolitan University and the WRU. Ex-British Lion and Wales' 75 time capped (33 as skipper) number 8 Ryan Jones has taken the role of head of participation, reporting in to another former Cardiff Met student, WRU CEO, Martyn Phillips.
Speaking about his time at the University, Ryan Jones said:
"I was a student at Cardiff Met's Cyncoed Campus for three years. I was really inspired by the ethos of sporting excellence and University rugby was the springboard for my international career."
Ryan's new role will concentrate on improving the amateur game, and he will work very closely alongside the new WRU Head of Rugby Performance, Geraint John. Yet another alumni, Geraint has senior national coaching experience with Wales and Canada and was recently head coach of Australia 7s.
With Warren Gatland's national team set up, Rhodri Bown, a student at Cardiff Met in Ryan Jones' year, is the new head of performance analysis. Joining Rhodri in his department will be Marc Kinnaird, one of many talented analysts that have come through the Centre for Performance Analysis at the University.
These four key appointments are set to continue the legacy of the Cardiff Met influence at the very top of the WRU; a long line of players and coaches including Clive Rowlands, Gareth Edwards, JJ Williams, John Bevan, Clive Griffiths, Brynmor Williams, Rhodri Lewis, Kevin Hopkins and John Devereux, many of whom were under the tutelage of Dave Cobner.
Current Wales international Jamie Roberts also completed an intercalated degree in Sport and Exercise Science at Cardiff Met.
The Cardiff School of Sport also boasts a host of academic staff who also hold key roles in the WRU at a national and regional level, from performance psychologist Dr Rich Neil, to national squad physiotherapist Craig Ranson, sports massage therapist Lucy Kember and Wales U. 18 backs coach, Danny Milton. Cardiff Met staff who have previously held prestigious roles at the WRU and brought their expertise back to Cardiff Met include the Dean of School Professor Richard Tong, who was a hugely successful fitness coach with the national side, as well as Huw Wiltshire, the WRU's first ever national fitness director. In addition, Chris Davey was the most successful Wales U.21 coach ever.
A range of current and ex-students hold key positions within the WRU governing body and Cardiff Met alumni are located in every one of the Welsh regions in a variety of positions from coaching to management and fitness.
And Cardiff Met's undeniable influence in rugby also extends internationally, with former students in management positions with high profile teams in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, and Romania.