Welsh legend Stephen Jones joins Tana Umaga at Moana Pasifika

Welsh rugby legend Stephen Jones will join former All Black Tana Umaga in the Moana Pasifika coaching ranks next season, the New Zealand-based franchise confirmed on Tuesday morning.

Following the Crusaders announcement on Monday that Test centurion Leigh Halfpenny has signed on for the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season, Jones is the second Welsh great to pen a deal down south.

Jones, 45, earned more than 100 Test caps as a player and is widely considered one of the greatest players in Welsh rugby history. Jones was also part of Warren Gatland’s coaching staff at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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But after moving on from his role as Wales’ attack coach last year, Jones is set to embark on an exciting challenge as one of two newly appointed assistant coaches at the club for the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season.

“I’m excited to join this organisation and I’m looking forward to the new challenges of the Super Rugby Pacific competition,” Jones said in a statement.

“I am excited to bring my perspective to the style of rugby played in the Pacific and the Southern Hemisphere and help the next crop of Pasifika talent flourish.”

There’s no denying Jones’ importance to Moana Pasifika ahead of the new campaign. Jones brings a fresh perspective and an attacking flair to the franchise which represents Samoa and Tonga.

Jones won a Six Nations Championship, a Welsh Premier Division title, a Celtic Division title and two tours with the British and Irish Lions as a player. That experience will be invaluable.

“He brings a different style of thought process to us as well as the necessary skillset for our attack and kicking strategy,” Head Coach Fa’alogo Tana Umaga added.

“He’ll also be able to develop our first five-eighths and game drivers which is crucial for not only Moana Pasifika but Samoa and Tonga as well.”

While Jones will look over the backs, Moana Pasifika has confirmed that world-class rugby guru Toaigaotumua Tom Coventry has been brought on as the forward’s coach.

The three-time Super Rugby champion has an impressive rugby resume which includes stints with the Blues, Chiefs, New Zealand Schools, New Zealand U20s and Manu Samoa. Coventry also spent four years as a Co-Head coach of a then-ITM Cup-winning Hawke’s Bay outfit.

“This is a great opportunity for me and I’m grateful to be part of the Moana Pasifika organisation,” Coventry said. “It’s exciting to be working with Tana as we commit ourselves to creating a very successful rugby franchise.

“Moana Pasifika are filled with extremely talented rugby players and I look forward to bringing out that potential and contributing to the team’s success.”

Source link: https://www.rugbypass.com/news/welsh-legend-stephen-jones-joins-tana-umaga-at-moana-pasifika/




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