FORMER Wales wing Mark Jones has been appointed as the new RGC 1404 head coach.
The 47-times capped Scarlets legend, who was attack and skills coach for the West Wales region for five years, helping them reach the Guinness Pro12 play-offs for the first time in seven years, will lead the North Wales Development Region into the Principality Premiership when the new-look 16 team division kicks off next month.
Jones, who also carried out the role of interim attack coach for Wales under caretaker coach Rob Howley in 2013, gained head coach experience at Rotherham last season before following in the footsteps of Phil Davies, Chris Horsman, Damian McGrath and Clive Griffiths at Parc Eirias.
Jones said: “I’m excited to carry on the work of the previous RGC coaches and have the opportunity to develop even more talented youngsters from North Wales.
“It’s a big challenge, because the Principality Premiership will be a big step up, going up against experienced semi-professional and in some cases, professional regional players, but I hope I can help to make RGC an established Premiership side that can continue on its remarkable journey.”
Jones is conscious of the need to continue the good work with grassroots clubs in the region.
“It’s crucial we continue to work closely with the clubs. I came through the system as a player in Mid Wales so I understand the logistical challenges involved and hope we can continue to break down barriers to enable North Wales players to flourish.
“I’ve joined the set-up fairly late in pre-season but I hope to be able to put my stamp on the side over the next few months.
“I will be putting an emphasis on upskilling players so that they reach their full potential and play to the strengths of the group. I’d like to think I encourage a fast-paced, entertaining brand of rugby that’s enjoyable for both players and spectators, but that we will also be pragmatic when conditions dictate too, capable of winning a winter arm-wrestle!”
WRU Head of Rugby Performance, Geraint John, added: “It’s good to have Mark back in Welsh rugby and leading the next stage of RGC’s on-field development.
“It’s an exciting time for RGC with promotion into the revamped Principality Premiership, and Mark’s involvement will certainly add to that mix. He understands the semi-professional game in Wales, he understands the regional game and he understands North Wales rugby.”