Wales have been dealt a blow six months out from the Rugby World Cup with head of physical performance Paul Stridgeon to leave before the summer World Cup warm-ups.

Stridgeon is considered one of the best strength and conditioning coaches in world rugby, and has been an integral part of Wales' backroom team for the past eight years.

Wales captain Ken Owens revealed in the immediate aftermath of their Six Nations defeat to France a member of the management side was leaving.

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Warren Gatland declined to reveal the identity of the person or persons departing but WalesOnline has learnt Stridgeon is set to depart.

He had been linked with joining French club Racing 92 at the end of the year but will now leave before the World Cup for personal reasons.

His departure will be a significant blow to Wales' chances at the World Cup given how much emphasis Gatland puts on fitness.

Gatland has always been proud of the fitness of his Wales sides, and this has in large part been down to Stridgeon.

Wales have endured a torrid Six Nations campaign, winning just one of their five matches, and to lose such a key member of the backroom staff will be seen as a significant blow.


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