Wasps head coach Shaun Edwards has been appointed Wales' defence coach on a part-time basis until January 2010.
The Welsh Rugby Union confirmed Edwards’ appointment today, after reaching an agreement over a release contract with Wasps.
Edwards will be reunited with Wales head coach Warren Gatland, after the pair enjoyed unparalleled success at Wasps - winning a hat-trick of Premiership titles and the European Cup.
The Wasps connection is strengthened further by the arrival of former scrum-half Rob Howley as Gatland’s assistant.
Howley will split his time with the Cardiff Blues, where he is currently backs coach, until May and then take up a full-time post through to the 2011 World Cup.
Forwards coach Robin McBryde and kicking specialist Neil Jenkins are the only coaches to retain their positions following Wales’ disappointing World Cup campaign.
Gatland said: “I am delighted that we have been able to recruit individuals with the talents and skills of Rob and Shaun.
“I have also been very impressed by the input of Robin and Neil and I am now satisfied I have the right team in place to go forward with confidence.
“We know what we want to achieve and we have already started talking detail, with everyone having input into the selection of this new playing squad.
“We have all been in touch constantly and we are well ahead with our plans to get the squad named and prepared.
“There has been lots of speculation about the arrival of Shaun - and I have made no secret of my admiration for him as a player, a coach and a loyal friend.
“He is an inspirational character, and I know the squad players will get to know and respect him very quickly.
“Rob Howley is also a man with great talent and a fantastic work ethic who will give nothing but 100% to the Welsh cause. He was one of the best players I ever coached.”
Edwards, the former Great Britain rugby league captain, was offered the head coach’s post with the England Saxons but wanted to further his career at international level. He will join up with Wales during tournaments and tours.
Edwards said: “It’s a great honour to be coaching international rugby with Wales, and I am extremely comfortable with the backroom team I will be joining.
“I believe I am ready for Test rugby, while I am also delighted that I will be able to continue with my role at Wasps - which is very important to me.
“I have done my homework on Wales and I have looked as far back as the seventies and studied the times when Wales have been successful.
“Basically, every time Wales came top of the defensive statistics they won the championship. That includes the Grand Slam year of 2005 when they conceded only 84 points.
“Success is built on rock-solid defence - and although we won’t be championing negative rugby, we want the whole of the Welsh nation to be talking about the big hits and the aggression associated with strong defence.
“We have got a long way to go, because the statistics don’t lie, but I personally believe success is achievable.
“My great, great grandfather was a Welshman- and I have played international rugby union as well as league, so I know how important the game is to the Welsh nation.
“Warren had a huge influence on my joining Wales, and now I am really looking forward to the work ahead.”