NICK Wakley and Paul Young have been appointed as Wales Women assistant coaches as preparations for next year’s World Cup in Belfast and Dublin begin in earnest.

Under head coach Rowland Phillips’ tutelage, Ebbw Vale backs coach Wakley, who also heads up the women’s sevens programme on a full-time basis, will coach the Wales backs.

Ex-Newport and Cardiff hooker and former Bridgend head coach Young will bring with him vast expertise of the set-piece to become the forwards coach.

Next year’s World Cup will be staged from August 9-26 at three different Irish venues and Phillips is confident he now has a backroom team capable of ensuring Wales arrive in the best possible shape.

“We know our ambitions as a team but we have to make sure we have the quality around the girls to be able to deliver what we want,” said Phillips.

“Nick Wakley is already delivering the sevens programme with the Welsh women so he will bring a lot of playing and coaching experience to the 15-a-side international game.

“I am really keen to work with Paul Young as well as he has been a head coach and also possesses a lot of playing experience, and he’s just the right man to add the detail to work on our set-piece.”

In addition, strength and conditioning coach James Nolan moves from London Welsh to become the Wales Women physical conditioning lead in September alongside Hilary Mae Gannon, who has been appointed as the team’s full-time physiotherapist.

“The appointment, on a full-time basis, of James and Hilary shows that the physical needs of the girls are in good hands,” added a delighted Phillips.

Off the pitch, ex-international hockey player Hannah John is the women’s programme coordinator and Wales Women team manager to further strengthen the management team.

She previously worked as performance coordinator for Hockey Wales, overseeing and managing the talent development, national age group and international programmes.

She was recently the team manager for the British women’s sevens team at the World University Championship.

WRU head of rugby performance Geraint John said: “The calibre of these appointments to the national women’s programmes, following that of Rowland Phillips as Wales Women head coach, reflect a clear decision by the Welsh Rugby Union to increase the resource and support available to one of the fastest growing sports in the world.

“Following the Olympics, where women’s rugby sevens has been hugely popular, it was vital we invest and make changes now in order to create a high-performing, professional environment to enable the side to fulfil their potential at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 12 months’ time and the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in 2018.

“There is still a long way to go – some competing nations have a number of full-time athletes which is something we would like to build towards given interest from outside investors in supporting the women’s programme – but it is a significant step in the right direction and the management team will be judged on the quality of the programme they deliver.”