FORMER Caldicot School teacher Rhys Edwards has been appointed National Women's Head Coach and Elite Programme Lead on a new three-day-a-week contract.

Edwards, who as head coach led Wales women to unprecedented success at last year's World Cup in France, guiding his side to eighth position, will oversee both the 15-a-side and sevens programme where he will be assisted by Richie Pugh.

The newly created role will include responsibility for forging closer links to the regional programme to ensure Welsh talent is developed on the playing and coaching front.

He will also be responsible for creating partnerships with colleges and universities to support the regional and international pathway.

Edwards has been coaching Wales Women since 2011 and is now looking forward with optimism to the next chapter of his career.

"This is a new role created and supported by Sport Wales to lead the women's performance programme.

"I was fortunate to be head coach of both XVs and VIIs teams in my previous role, but I had to manage it with my role as a PE teacher at Caldicot School.

"This new role will allow me to dedicate more specific time to the programme and in particularly the players themselves.

"I am honoured to be part of this programme and we have a very talented player base who themselves have to balance their rugby commitments with their careers.

"This attitude has allowed us to 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' immediate aim is qualification for the Women's Sevens World Series (WSWS).

He said: "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.

"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 said Edwards possesses the passion, drive and experience to take the women's programme on to a new level.

"We are thrilled to have Rhys on board for the next cycle," she said. "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)."