Wales head coach Warren Gatland has been ruled out of Wales' June tour of Australia tour due to injury and Rob Howley will take over as caretaker coach.
Gatland was injured at home in a fall from the railings around decking at his Waihi beach house and suffered multiple fractures to the calcaneus or heel bone in his right foot and a fracture to the same bone in his left.
Gatland will not undergo immediate surgery as his injuries are given time to heal before any further decisions are taken on the need for intervention.
The Wales Rugby Union are hoping that Gatland will be able to join Howley for the second and third Test matches if he can recover in time.
Howley will have full control of all aspects of team preparation and selection as he takes charge of the existing management and coaching staff with immediate effect.
Gatland has declared his full approval of the decision which was taken during discussions with WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis about his prognosis for recuperation and recovery over the weeks ahead.
The decision was taken after medical advice given to Gatland and his family in New Zealand was set against the huge scale and importance of the summer series of games in 2012.
Doctors have ruled out a return to Wales for Gatland in time for the Barbarians international and the latest medical advice is that he is unlikely to have recuperated sufficiently to take charge of Wales in Australia before the first Test match in Brisbane on June 9.
Roger Lewis said: "Our priorities are clear and we have acted decisively to ensure absolute clarity in the weeks ahead.
"Warren has taken the appropriate medical advice and agrees that appointing Rob as Caretaker Coach in his absence is the best way forward for our Grand Slam winning squad.
"Rob, Warren and I have talked this through thoroughly and it makes absolute sense to ensure the chain of command and authority levels are recognised.
"Warren can now concentrate on getting back to robust health before taking back full control of Wales to continue the great work he has already achieved and Rob can take this opportunity to develop as a coach at the highest level.
Warren Gatland said: "Although I am devastated to be away from the action I am delighted that we have someone of Rob's calibre to take charge in my absence.
"I will not be ready to take charge of Wales for the international against the Barbarians and if I recover enough to get to Australia during June I am still unlikely to be mobile enough to play a full coaching role.