Owen Sheers to team up with Welsh Rugby Union

Owen Sheers is to be the first writer-in-residence for the national game of Wales

Poet Owen Sheers is to swap sonnets for scrums after being picked for the Welsh Rugby Union's first artist-in-residence project.

Abergavenny-born Sheers will take up the position for 2012, with two more artists to take on the roles in 2013 and 2014.

His role will involve observing and writing about the sport at both community and elite levels, beginning with the preparations for the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Tournament.

He said: "Traditionally the physical and intellectual cultures of Wales have always been close cousins, so I'm thrilled to be involved in a project that promises to foster an ongoing relationship between rugby and the arts".

Sheers, whose poetry includes collections The Blue Book and Skirrid Hill, is also the author of Resistance, set in a Welsh community during an alternative Second World War. Michael Sheen and Angela Riseborough star in the big-screen version, out now.

Group chief executive of the WRU, Roger Lewis, said: "We are delighted to have secured the services of a writer as exciting as Owen Sheers for this project. Without doubt he is one of Wales' literary stars.

"Great art, like sport, has the power to change people's perceptions of the surrounding world for the greater good."

The Blue Book and Skirrid Hill by Owen Sheers are published by Seren. Resistance is published by Faber.