Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Steve Phillips has acclaimed Wales head coach Wayne Pivac’s achievements in his second season at the helm.
Pivac masterminded Wales’ Guinness Six Nations title and Triple Crown triumphs, which came after a disappointing 2020 when just three Test match victories were recorded.
Phillips, though, also praised the Autumn Nations Cup campaign earlier this term.
Wales won only two of their four games, but players like Louis Rees-Zammit, Callum Sheedy and James Botham were given opportunities before making further notable contributions during the Six Nations.
Pivac, who succeeded Warren Gatland in November 2019, has a four-year contract that expires after the next Rugby World Cup.
Writing to the WRU’s member clubs, Phillips said: “Wayne Pivac has the 2023 Rugby World Cup firmly in his sights and a comprehensive plan for Wales to arrive there at the peak of our powers, with the full backing of the Welsh Rugby Union to achieve that aim.
“We meet after every campaign to discuss how we are tracking against any plan.
“We met after the Autumn Nations Cup. That campaign, as stated publicly by management at the time, was about giving players the opportunity to experience Test rugby and to give management the opportunity to see how they fared.
“Wayne was equally unambiguous about his distinction between the autumn and the Guinness Six Nations Championship, where we would be playing tournament rugby and results mattered.
“If silverware was the only measure, then, of course, winning both the Triple Crown and the tournament itself can be viewed as ‘mission accomplished’.
“It is vitally important that we assess our progress in a considered way.
“In professional sport it is possible to go from hero to zero and back again in a fortnight.
“To avoid ‘knee-jerk’ reactions, we measure progress against short and long-term goals. Wayne, the management and the players are, by any measure, progressing extremely well.
“Winning the championship this year was an obvious short-term goal, but we have been equally impressed by what was achieved this autumn when the stall was set to blood new players, improve strength in depth and bed in a new and varied approach to tactics and game-plans.
“Wayne and his management team and players have delivered.
“I know I speak on behalf of the (WRU) board and everyone at the WRU in congratulating them on their achievements, and we look forward to following their continued progress on the road to France 2023.”