Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde has been appointed caretaker head coach for Wales' summer tour to North America.
The former Wales hooker takes the reins as Warren Gatland will be part of the Lions coaching staff that goes to South Africa at the same time.
Two of Gatland's Wales backroom staff, Shaun Edwards and Rob Howley, are also joining Lions coach Ian McGeechan.
Wales play Canada in Toronto on 30 May before travelling to Chicago for a Test with the USA a week later.
"It is a great honour to lead Wales on tour for two important Test matches, which will prove to be a challenging test of our progress as a squad," McBryde said.
"This is a great opportunity to step up and for some players to prove that our coaching strategies and processes are creating real competition for the coveted Welsh jersey.
Robin has proved he is entirely worthy of this opportunity
Wales head coach Warren Gatland
"I will be working closely with Warren and the team in the preparation phase for the tour, but the chance to be the man in charge for the games is a challenge I am relishing.
"We know the American Eagles and the Canadians will be tough opposition and they will fully test our progress.
"It is inevitable that some members of our senior squad will be heading for South Africa as Lions, so the players who travel with us will be determined to make the test starting positions their own."
McBryde will be aided by a backroom staff including regular Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins, conditioning coach Mark Bennett and team manager Alan Phillips.
The coaching team will be supplemented by one extra caretaker assistant coach, plus one more conditioner who will all be appointed in the near future.
Gatland is confident that Wales will be in good hands during his Lions absence.
"The tour of North America will be a challenging experience, but... Robin has proved he is entirely worthy of this opportunity to step up and take on the ultimate responsibility as coach at international level," Gatland said.
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