Mark Jones: Former Wales wing to coach Super Rugby's Crusaders

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Mark Jones says joining Crusaders coaching team is a dream job

Former Wales wing Mark Jones will join the coaching staff of Super Rugby champions Crusaders on a two-year deal.

The 40-year-old stepped down from north Wales team RGC in May 2019 after three years as head coach of the Welsh Premiership club.

Jones coached Namibia's backs at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

He joined head coach Phil Davies at Namibia in that coaching team which also included fellow ex-Wales players Dale McIntosh and Wayne Proctor.

Ex-Llanelli and Scarlets star Jones was part of the Wales coaching set-up in 2012-13, when in Warren Gatland's absence, Rob Howley led them to the Six Nations title.

He will now join the backroom staff of Scott Robertson, whose hopes of becoming New Zealand coach were dashed when Ian Foster succeeded ex-Wales boss Steve Hansen in the All Blacks role.

Robertson has coached Crusaders to three successive Super Rugby titles and is under contract there until the end of the 2021 season.

Former Ireland fly-half Ronan O'Gara was part of the Crusaders coaching staff before moving to become head coach at French Top 14 club La Rochelle. Now Jones travels to New Zealand to further his career.

"It is a dream job. I don't care whether you are myself or an international coach who is looking for a new role," Jones told BBC Sport Wales.

"If the Crusaders call you up and offer you a role, then it's a pretty prestigious opportunity.

"I am excited about being associated with the Crusaders and learning from the many things they have done over the years.

"Scott has done a terrific job and you can look at the trophy cabinet over the last three or four seasons. Also you can look at how he has developed players and coaches and improved people.

"I want to be the best I can be and the Crusaders is going to give me an opportunity to learn and think about the game a different way. It will challenge everything I have learned up to this point."

Jones will fill a defence role in the Crusaders backroom staff where he is joined by Andrew Goodman (backs) and Jason Ryan (forwards), while Scott Hansen has replaced Brad Mooar as assistant coach.

Jones has also been named as backs coach for Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup programme, where he will work alongside Reuben Thorne and Mark Brown.

"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," said Robertson.

"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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