Mark Jones Faces Uncertain Future As Wales U20 Coach Despite World Championships Lift

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 05: Assistant Coach Mark Jones speaks to the media prior to a Crusaders Super Rugby training session at Rugby Park on August 05, 2020 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Mark Jones Faces Uncertain Future As Wales U20 Coach Despite World Championships Lift

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By Paul Jones

Mark Jones earned a lot of plaudits for the way in which he turned around the Wales U20 team at the World Rugby U20 Championship, but the former Wales wing will return home to an uncertain future.

Having picked up the head coaching reins when Bryon Hayward stepped down a month before the tournament, he helped to transform a team that was a bunch of losers in the Six Nations into a side that picked up two wins and ended sixth overall in South Africa.

His three-month contract will end once he has completed his report on the tournament and he will be back on the job market. Will the WRU offer him a longer-term opportunity with their age grade sides?

If they are thinking about it, as they must surely be doing after what happened in Cape Town, they will need to move quickly.

“You’ll have to ask the powers that be what happens to me next. I’ve just been focusing on the final game and finishing as high as we possibly could,” said Jones.

“I’m in the profession of coaching, that’s my living. The fact I enjoy it makes it even more rewarding.

“I’ve got to put food on the table, so I’ll be looking for a new job as soon as this one finishes. I don’t know where that will be.

“I’ll have to check off the wife’s to do list when I get home, but my bags will remain packed so I’m ready to go where the right job comes up.

“I took on the job with Wales at short notice for three months. It excited me and I’ve loved doing it. It has been the people who have made it exciting for me.

“The World Cup could have been anywhere, but with this group of players and staff it has been great.”

Wales U20s Deliver Against Gritty Georgians To Battle For Fifth Place Finish

Jones launched his coaching career at the Scarlets when his playing career was brought to an end with injury. he spent five years as backs coach and also spent a year on attachment with Wales.

He became director of rugby at Rotherham Titans and then came back into the system in a similar role at RGC 1404 in the Indigo Premiership.

He joined forces with Phil Davies to help Namibia at the 2019 World Cup before heading down under to join the coaching team at the most successful non-international side in the world, the Crusaders. He was backs coach for both the Crusaders and Canterbury in Super Rugby and the ITM Cup.

He returned to the UK to become defence coach at Worcester Warriors, a role that ended when the club went into liquidation and folded.

“Investing in good coaches and good people is critical. I just hope I can find the right opportunity sooner rather than later because I love what I do as a job,” added Jones.

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