FORMER Wales winger Mark Jones will join Rob Howley and the Wales coaching team for the duration of the RBS 6 Nations Tournament as Assistant Backs Coach.
The Builth Wells ace, who played 47 times for Wales, had already been confirmed as part of the coaching team for Wales’ summer tour to Japan, but will now link up with Wales for the Six Nations period before returning at the end of the tournament to the Scarlets - the region he has been committed to as a player and coach for more than a decade.
“It is a huge honour for me to be called upon by Wales for the forthcoming Six Nations and I am looking forward to this exciting opportunity for me to develop further as a coach,” said Mark Jones, who was born in Builth Wells and grew up on the family sheep and cattle farm in Llanafan Fawr, with his two brothers and parents Brenda and Gwyn.
“It will help me to explore new ideas and gain wider experience that I hope will in turn benefit my full-time role with the Scarlets region.
“I am very grateful to the Scarlets for agreeing to support me in my progression as a coach and backing me to take this opportunity at international level.
“It will be a privilege to work with the Welsh team and a group of talented international players and coaches.”
As a youngster, Mark went to Irfon Valley County Primary School at Garth before going to Builth Wells High School where he excelled at athletics and rugby.
He played throughout his school years for Builth Wells Rugby Club junior sides and made his Welsh Youth debut while playing for the successful Builth RFC Youth Rugby Team.
While still a youth age player, he was signed from Builth RFC by Llandovery RFC and in his first season in senior rugby he was the highest try scorer in the whole Welsh League.
The following season he was signed by Llanelli Scarlets where he has been ever since. He made his Welsh International debut versus England at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff in 2001 and won 47 caps.
Interim Wales head coach Rob Howley was delighted to confirm the appointment.
“Mark is an important addition to the coaching team,” said Howley.
“He has played the game at the highest level and developed his coaching skills during his time with the Scarlets.
“He is a ‘hands on coach’ and understand how our environment works which is important leading into the tournament.
“I’d like to thank Simon Easterby and the Scarlets for allowing Mark to join us and to start work immediately.
“We have always been an integrated coaching team and Mark will be a great addition alongside Robin, Shaun and Neil.”