Walker appointed new WRU performance director

13.07.21 – WRU -WRU Performance Director Nigel Walker.
Former Wales international and Olympian Nigel Walker has been named the Welsh Rugby Union’s new Performance Director.

Former Wales international and Olympian Nigel Walker has been named the Welsh Rugby Union’s new Performance Director.

The move means he will join the executive board of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations champions.

Former Cardiff wing Walker, who was awarded an OBE in 2019, joins the WRU having previously held the position of National Director at the English Institute of Sport (EIS).

Speaking about his appointment, Walker said: “This is a job that is very much close to my heart and I am delighted to accept the challenge. Rugby holds a special place in the hearts of Welsh people everywhere.

“The passion that exists for the game is self-evident and I take on this role mindful of the fact that, with that level of interest, there is a responsibility to ensure the performance end of Welsh rugby builds on the solid foundations of the community game.

“A huge part of the attraction of this job is the breadth and scope of the role. Short term, two challenges I look forward to are the development of a sustainable pathway in the Women’s game and working collaboratively on a performance strategy that works for the whole of the professional male game in Wales.

“In addition, I very much look forward to working closely with Wayne Pivac and his team. I will be using all of the experience I have gathered over more than 30 years in and around the game both on and off the field and I very much relish the opportunity to do so.”

A winger in his playing days, he was captained 17 times by Wales in the mid-1990s, scoring 12 tries in the process.

His final appearance in the Championship and for his country, came against England at Twickenham in February 1998.

Walker has held various sporting bodies’ since his retirement from playing, including at Cardiff Rugby and BBC Wales where he was head of sport.

WRU CEO Steve Phillips said: “Nigel was the stand-out candidate in an extremely strong field from an effective process and we are delighted to welcome him back to the Welsh Rugby Union as our new Performance Director.

“Nigel knows all about the importance of performing under pressure and skills transfer, in particular drawing on his international career in rugby and athletics, and delivering change in high performance environments.

“He has an intimate working knowledge of Welsh sport, and Welsh rugby in particular, and his experience will prove a significant asset for our game.”

Before his Rugby career he was a standout track and field athlete, excelling the 110m hurdles.

Walker represented Team GB at the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles in this discipline, switching sports in 1992.