Warren Gatland will miss Wales' summer tour to Australia following an accident in which he fractured both his heels in a fall at his home in New Zealand.
The WRU have confirmed that Caretaker Head Coach, Rob Howley, will take full control for the forthcoming summer internationals against the Barbarians and Australia.
The decision was taken after doctors ruled out a return to Wales for Gatland in time for the Barbarians test on June 2nd.
It also seems highly unlikely that Gatland will have recuperated sufficiently to take charge of Wales in Australia before the first Test match in Brisbane on June 9th.
Gatland has declared his full approval of the decision which the WRU hope will offer certainty to players and coaches as the preparations and planning for the matches now enter an important preliminary phase.
While Rob Howley will have full control of all aspects of team preparation and selection he will continue to liaise directly with Gatland but the pair have confirmed that the final decisions will be made by the caretaker coach.
Gatland will not undergo immediate surgery as his injuries are given time to heal before any further decisions are taken.
He was injured at home in a fall from the railings around decking at his Waihi beach house and suffered multiple fractures to the heel bone in his right foot and a fracture to the same bone in his left.
He has been advised that the injury to his right foot is severe and it is unlikely he would be able to bear weight on the limb by early June.