Richie Pugh joins Ospreys coaching staff

Richie Pugh
Richie Pugh won the Sevens World Cup with Wales in 2009

Former Wales flanker Richie Pugh has left his Wales sevens coaching role to join the Ospreys coaching staff.

Pugh will be a contact skills coach and was on the touchline for the first time in Ospreys' Pro14 win over Benetton.

The WRU is to announce his replacement in the coming weeks.

Pugh, 36, was part of the Wales sevens team which won their World Cup in 2009. He played for Ospreys, Scarlets, Exeter and London Welsh, and won his only senior cap against the USA in 2005.

In recent months Pugh had also helped coach Scarlets A in the Celtic Cup.

"When the opportunity presented itself from (Ospreys head coach) Allen Clarke, it was one I jumped at. To come back into the 15s game in my home region is brilliant," Pugh told BBC Sport Wales.

"The stand-out moment in sevens from a playing point of view was in 2009 when we won the World Cup, but from the coaching point of view, it's seeing the players that have transitioned from sevens into the 15-a-side game with Wales such as Owen Lane and Luke Morgan recently.

"I know the value of that programme and I still believe in it, it's a great platform for developing a great bunch of youngsters in Wales."

So what does his new job entail?

"It's an area of the game we want to improve whether it's the speed of our ball or whether we want to slow the opposition down, it has a role in both attack and defence. The sevens game is all about speed off the deck and getting back in the game, so if I can add value to that it'll be brilliant but also assisting Allen Clarke with defensive systems."

The Ospreys, who saw defence coach Brad Davis depart at the end of the 2018-19 season, are playing with a depleted squad during the World Cup with ten players on international duty and eight injured.

After defeating Benetton 24-20 for a first victory of the Pro14 campaign, Pugh is optimistic about working with some of their younger players.

"What's great is that you give an opportunity to young lads to play on the big stage, they're growing and you've seen that in the performance. The opportunity while the boys are out in Japan is great for these guys," he said.

Ospreys next face Munster away on Friday 25 October before home Pro14 games against Connacht and Southern Kings.