FORMER Welsh international winger and ex-Super Rugby coach Mark Jones has been announced as Worcester Warriors' new senior assistant coach.

He will be responsible for defence and kicking game.

Jones, who was capped 47 times for his country, has been in New Zealand with Super Rugby giants Crusaders as a backs coach last year.

In his playing days, Jones played for Llanelli (Scarlets) for his entire career and managed 164 appearances for his region and scored 425 points (85 tries).

After being forced to retire through injury in 2010, Jones has been in a coaching role ever since including stints with the Namibian and Welsh national sides.

He was a backs coach with the Scarlets for five years between 2010-15 and then had a short spell as head coach with Rotherham before enjoying a successful three years in the same role at Welsh Premiership side RGC 1404.

Jones led them to a Welsh National Cup win back in 2017.

The Welshman moved to New Zealand to take over as defence coach under Scott Robertson at Super Rugby side Crusaders.

Jones will join the Warriors set-up on January 7.

“It is fantastic news for the club that Mark will be joining us here at Sixways as Senior Assistant Coach with specific responsibility for our defence and kicking game,” said Warriors Director of Rugby Alan Solomons.

“Mark is a well-known former Wales International who has developed into an outstanding coach.

“He has spent the last two seasons working as Defence Coach with the Crusaders Super Rugby team and Attack Coach with Canterbury in the Mitre Cup team where he has made a huge impression.

“Over and above his ability as a coach, Mark is a first-class person who is well known to both JT and Matt Sherratt.

“This will ensure that the good synergy and alignment we have in our coaching group is not only maintained but strengthened. Mark is the ideal fit for us and I look forward to all of us working together in taking the club forward.”

Jones explains how a recent visit to Sixways to meet Solomons and the coaching staff swayed his decision.

“Once it became clear that I would not be able to go back to Canterbury because of the quarantine situation, things happened very quickly with Warriors,” Jones said.

“I was made aware that Alan Solomons was looking for someone to fill a key position in the coaching team and would I be interested.

“I came up, had a look around the facilities and had a chat with Alan about his thoughts for the project, to meet the coaching group and get a feel for the place.

“Once I did that it was pretty clear that it was a very exciting prospect hence my interest. I know the coaches there, they are great men and I could see myself working well with them and dove-tailing with them.

“The owners have got a real ambition to have a steady but sustainable growth over the next few years based around great facilities, a young squad under-pinned by the academy and a forward-looking mentality which aligned well with myself.

“I have been fortunate under the current circumstances to find something that aligns as well as it has done.

“I would like to thank Canterbury and the Crusaders for all their amazing support and understanding around my family situation and difficult circumstances on regaining entry to New Zealand.

“Their support in this transition has been immense. Coaching there has been a terrific experience that we will look back on with great memories.

“We have made great friends for life. Special thanks go to the players and supporters in Christchurch for taking us into their family over the last year. Canterbury and Crusaders are among the few organisations that actually exceed their exceptional reputation around the world.”