FORMER Dragons scrum-half Richie Rees is leaving his role as backs coach at Cardiff to take up a job with Haberdashers’ Monmouth School.

The 40-year-old former Wales international has been appointed as the first director of the HMS Sports Academy.

Rees cut his coaching teeth with the Dragons academy after playing 47 times for the Rodney Parade club between 2013 and 2015.

The nine-times capped scrum-half then moved to Cardiff, where he won the European Challenge Cup, and will leave this summer after six years in various roles.

South Wales Argus: Richie Rees (left) and T Rhys Thomas celebrate the Dragons' shock win in Leinster in 2015Richie Rees (left) and T Rhys Thomas celebrate the Dragons' shock win in Leinster in 2015 (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Rees said: “I'm delighted to be appointed the first director of HMS' new Sports Academy and look forward to using my experience to enhance the development of all the sporting students, from the most hesitant to the highest performing.

“I have had a great time at Cardiff Rugby and remain enormously grateful to the club for all of the support and opportunities they have given me both in my playing days and as a young coach but feel this is the right time to take on a new challenge.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all the players, coaches and staff at the Arms Park and will leave with a heavy heart but one filled with so many great memories and experiences.

“I remain fiercely committed to Cardiff for the rest of the season and we are all focussed on having a strong end to the season.”

HMS are opening a new sports and athletic performance facility next April that will be named the Eddie Butler Centre.

The former Wales captain, Pontypool number eight and iconic commentator, who died in ***, was a former student at the school.

“Richie will oversee the Eddie Butler Centre, develop and lead the HMS Sports Academy’s strategy and the new sports scholarship scheme, whilst managing the sports performance pathways and strength and conditioning programmes,” read an HMS statement.

“In addition to heading up the Academy, Richie will undertake a mentoring role across all the school’s sport programmes and assist the boys’ rugby coaching at all age groups, whilst also launching a girls’ rugby 7s provision within school which will be introduced from September.”

School sport will continue to be run under the direction of Andy Jones as director of sport, who will be working closely with Rees.