A WELSHMAN who was instrumental in plotting England’s path to the Rugby World Cup final two years ago has returned home after taking up a coaching role with the Scarlets.

Joe Lewis, from Builth Wells, has become the Welsh region’s head of technical performance and will work alongside new Scarlets coach and former Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel.

Lewis, 39, was one of Eddie Jones’ most trusted lieutenants; he could always be seen sitting and conferring with the Australian in the stands on matchdays as England’s head analyst for the last four years. The appointment is seen as a major coup for the Scarlets, with Lewis becoming a key member of Jones' backroom staff since joining the Rugby Football Union in 2017. During his time there, England rose to become the No1 ranked team in Test rugby for only the second time and reached the 2019 World Cup final, losing 32-12 to South Africa in Japan. They also won the 2020 Six Nations championship and Autumn Nations Cup.

“It’s great to be back at the Scarlets, a place I consider my spiritual home and a club I spent seven years at over two stints,” Lewis told the County Times.

“I’m really thankful to the RFU and especially Eddie for giving me the opportunity to be part of his team and, more importantly, learn and improve my capabilities to work at the highest level.

“I loved my time with England and had so many great opportunities and experiences, but I’m really excited by this opportunity to step into a new space.

“It will combine some of the key learnings from my time with England in developing the coaching process, the club’s learning environment and combining and aligning analysis and rugby to hopefully push the players on to future success.”

County Times:  Joe Lewis has previously worked with the Scarlets and their new head coach Dwayne Peel Joe Lewis has previously worked with the Scarlets and their new head coach Dwayne Peel

Lewis sees the move to a more strategic role as a step forward in his career, while also being able to spend more time near home with his young family; he has a daughter and a son.

In his new role at Parc y Scarlets, Lewis will “co-ordinate all on and off-field support to the coaching team”.

Of the appointment, new head coach Peel – who won 76 Welsh caps as well as three for the British & Irish Lions, said: “Bringing Joey back from the RFU is obviously a big coup for us.

“He has been working with Eddie Jones for the last four years and brings a lot of experience from that role.

“His role has developed within that time from an analyst perspective to technical performance and that is going to be a big help for myself and the rest of the coaching group as we head into the season.”

Lewis had a stint with the England women's football team before joining the national team’s senior men’s rugby set-up, and previously held roles in Australian Super Rugby and with the Taranaki Rugby Union in New Zealand.

He was also the Scarlets' head analyst between 2012 and 2016 after spending a year in the same role with the Ospreys. Prior to that, he served as head analyst with Wales' age grade and women's team.