Pugh, who achieved World Cup Sevens glory as a player, will return to his home region – with whom he spent five successful years as an openside flanker from 2003-08 – to begin the new role with immediate effect.
“Richie has been a fantastic servant to Welsh rugby, particularly within the sevens programme as both player and coach,” said Ryan Jones, WRU Performance Director. “He leaves the programme in a good place from which we can continue to build towards success, and the Welsh Rugby Union wishes him the best of luck with the Ospreys.
“It’s a move that ourselves and the region have worked on collaboratively, and we’re very happy to support Richie in returning to the Liberty Stadium to take up this exciting position. From another perspective, it’s good to know that we’ll have a strong advocate of sevens working in the Guinness PRO14 who can champion the value of this form of the sport.”
Wales’ sevens programme has been working increasingly closely with the regions in the past two seasons in order to help develop their young players and coaches, mainly through exposure to the intensity of the World Rugby Sevens Series. Bright Welsh prospects such as Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys), Dafydd Smith (Cardiff Blues), Taine Basham (Dragons) and Tom Rogers (Scarlets) have all been part of the sevens set-up this year, whilst Cardiff Blues’ new attack coach Richie Rees has been among the beneficiaries from a coaching standpoint.
At Ospreys, Pugh will link back up with Luke Morgan and Sam Cross, who were leading lights on the sevens circuit with Wales in recent years.
Pugh said: “I’d like to thank the Union for its support over the past years, and now with this transition to my new role with the Ospreys. I’ve witnessed first-hand the benefits of sevens for both players, coaches and Welsh rugby as a whole, so I’m confident the programme will continue to flourish.
“Some wonderfully talented players have come through the sevens programme – Rhys Patchell, James Davies and Justin Tipuric to name just three – and that applies to the current crop who have big futures ahead of them. It’s been a pleasure to work with them all. I look forward to taking those invaluable experiences from sevens into my new role with the Ospreys.”
The Welsh Rugby Union will be making an announcement on Pugh’s replacement as Wales Sevens head coach in the coming weeks.