Former Wales wing joins Crusaders
SUPER RUGBY TEAMS: Former Wales wing Mark Jones is heading south to join Super Rugby champions the Crusaders as their defence coach, the franchise announced Monday.
It continues the Crusaders link with the Northern Hemisphere having employed former Ireland flyhalf Ronan O’Gara for the past two years.
“We believe Mark is going to provide a real point of difference to the Crusaders, with his Northern Hemisphere skill set and extensive game knowledge,” Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson said.
The Crusaders are the most successful franchise in the Super Rugby competition, having made the final of the Southern Hemisphere championship 14 times in its 24-year history, winning 10 titles including the last three in a row.
The 40-year-old Jones, who was Warren Gatland’s attack coach during Wales’ 2013 Six Nations Grand Slam, will also be responsible for position-specific player development with the Crusaders.
Jones played 12 years for Scarlets and was a Wales age-group representative before making his Test debut in 2001.
He retired in 2010 with 47 caps to his name, attended the 2003 and 2007 World Cups and was a member of the 2008 Grand Slam Wales side.
His most recent coaching appointment was as attack coach for Namibia at the World Cup in Japan last year.
Jones said joining the Crusaders to “work alongside world-class coaches and players at Rugby Park, was too good to miss”.
His role also includes coaching alongside former All Blacks captain Reuben Thorne with the Crusaders’ main feeder club, Canterbury, in the New Zealand provincial competition.
Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said: “It’s exciting to confirm Mark’s appointment to our Crusaders coaching group, and I’m sure he’ll embrace the opportunity to coach at Super Rugby level.
“Mark brings a wealth of skills and experience from his time as both a player and a coach overseas, and he’ll offer a fresh perspective to our group which will be extremely valuable as we build towards our 2020 campaign. It’s great to welcome Mark, his wife and two sons to Christchurch.”
Robertson added: “We believe Mark is going to provide a real point of difference to the Crusaders, with his Northern Hemisphere skill set and extensive game knowledge. I’m confident he’ll connect quickly with our playing group and will be a huge asset over the next two seasons.”
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