Jump to main content
Mark Jones

Mark Jones is enjoying life as a coach in New Zealand

Jones continues his coaching crusade

As far as smacks in the face go, coaching the Crusaders to Super Rugby Aotearoa title glory has hit Mark Jones front on with the full force of a Tyson fury uppercut. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Share this page:

The former Wales speedster has had little time to celebrate the Crusaders’ success, as he is now plotting further success with Canterbury’s quest to claim the Mitre10 Cup which is contested by New Zealand’s top provincial sides.

“It’s been a great 12 months coming off the back of the World Cup with Phil [Davies] and Namibia, that was an awesome opportunity and obviously we came across the All Blacks. That was a great experience and then to jump straight out of that into Super Rugby with Rugby Aotearoa has been terrific, I haven’t really had time to absorb it much if I’m honest but it has been really enjoyable. Prior to that I was up at RGC so it’s been a good couple of years in fairness,” says Jones in an understated tone.

DFP – Leaderboard

Jones looks back with fondness at his time in north Wales with RGC as it gave him the tools to build a successful coaching career.

“It was a brilliant time for me,” he says. “Everyone there was terrific in terms of welcoming me in, supporting what we were trying to do there.

“It was well documented we wanted to grow the game in north Wales both through grass roots and right up to the semi-professional level and try and make RGC a real vibrant rugby area that will one day hopefully host its own PRO14 team – that’s the dream for everybody up there.

“I think the lads up there, the coaches, and the players still there are doing a terrific job – I certainly learnt a lot up there, it gave me the opportunity to learn lots of other things off the field, managing a department, budgets, on top of working with the team, I learned a lot and a huge part of my development came from there for sure.”

“All I’ve thought about the last month is how can I take what I have learned from Super Rugby and apply it to my role with Mitre 10 and see if we can win that competition.

Jones spent five years being part of the coaching set-up at the Scarlets during which time he also coached Wales in the Six Nations and on tour before heading down under to Christchurch to team up with Scott Robertson at the Crusaders.

Robertson guided the Crusaders to their fourth consecutive Super Rugby title with Jones having nothing but great things to say about the man touted as a future All Blacks coach.

“He’s been terrific for me personally, just been really supportive in terms of allowing me to be myself as a coach,” explains Jones.

“He doesn’t want to change the way I coach, wants just to improve me, whether that is by giving me intellectual property around tactics of a game, things he has picked up through his career or how to deliver in a meeting, it’s all about sharing those little titbits that will improve you on the grass or in the classroom and he allows you to be yourself to bring your own personality to it and engage with the boys – coming into a new environment that has been vital for me because when you come into a new country and new competition working with top internationals you want to be yourself. If you put an act on you can’t keep that up forever so it’s nice you can be yourself to be accepted as yourself.

“There are lots of good minds out there coming up with great ideas all the time but the one thing I have picked up with the Crusaders environment, just the desire to get better at the Crusaders is the thing that smacks you in the face.

“What I mean by that is all the players live locally so they can get in and out of work at the drop of a hat so if they need to do extra work on the computer or catch up with a coach or go in and do some extras they make sure they live locally so they can do that on a regular basis.

“Their preparation work off the field is second to none – it’s not a case of training has finished, I’ve done my extras, done my ice bath now I’m going home – they will message you at 6 o’clock, you can send them a whatsapp of a video of training, go for a coffee with them after training, they just want to get better – that is from the kid who has come in from the academy to the All Black who has played 150 times for the Crusaders – it really becomes infectious and that’s the biggest compliment I could pay them.”

Mark Jones

ON A CRUSADE: Assistant Coach Mark Jones and head coach Scott Robertson

Jones has had little time to bask in title glory as the Mitre 10 Cup campaign is front and centre of his mind as his side prepare to kick off the competition with an away trip to North Harbour next Friday evening.

“All I’ve thought about the last month is how can I take what I have learned from Super Rugby and apply it to my role with Mitre 10 and see if we can win that competition.

“That’s ultimately what I have done in the short term because coaching in the Aotearoa has made me a better coach – no doubt about it, it has opened my eyes to a few different ideas. The game was different because of some law adjustments, we have to adjust quickly in a short space of time so that in itself has made me a better coach.

“I have no doubt the experiences I’ll pick up over the next three months with Canterbury will only add to that.”

So that’s the short term sorted, what about the long term?

“I’m looking at it as a two year contract and if it is going really well and we’re doing well and the feedback is positive, who’s to say we won’t be out here longer? I’m really open minded about it, I’m a proud Welshman, I’d love to be back in the UK coaching and hopefully in Wales one day but at this moment of time I’m trying to improve myself and make sure wherever I go next I’m a better coach.”

CLICK HERE to listen to Mark Jones on this week’s podcast

Partners and Suppliers

Principal Partners
Isuzu
Principality
Admiral
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Official Broadcast Partners
BBC Sport
S4C
BBC Cymru/Wales
Official Partners
Guinness
Heineken
Jones continues his coaching crusade
SP Energy Networks
The Indigo Group
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Official Suppliers
Gullivers Sports Travel
Ace
Gilbert
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Rhino Rugby
Sportseen
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Jones continues his coaching crusade
Amber Energy

New Welsh Rugby 2020/21 Jersey

The brand new Welsh Rugby jersey is on sale now exclusively from the Official Welsh Rugby Store.

SHOP NOW