Mark Jones will join Worcester Warriors

Worcester secure major coaching coup in signing Crusaders coach Mark Jones

Worcester Warriors have struck an agreement with Crusaders backs coach Mark Jones to join them as senior assistant coach.

A former teammate of Warriors forwards coach Jonathan Thomas, Welshman Jones will officially begin his work at Sixways on January 7 when his contract with Crusaders will expire.

Jones will oversee responsibilities for defence and kicking at Warriors, having worked in New Zealand for the past 18 months and won plenty of silverware.

“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.”

In 2020, the abandoned Super Rugby season gave away to the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic with Crusaders top of the NZ Conference with five wins in six matches. The Crusaders carried this form into the Super Rugby Aotearoa to claim top spot in the inaugural competition.

“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.”