Super Rugby 2020: Crusaders appoint former Wales wing Mark Jones as assistant coach

Mark Jones previously worked under Warren Gatland at Wales.
Mark Jones previously worked under Warren Gatland at Wales. Photo credit: Getty

The Crusaders have made an unexpected coaching appointment, signing former Wales international Mark Jones to assist Scott Robertson for the upcoming season.

Capped 47 times, Jones has taken up a two-year deal as the Crusaders defence coach and will also be part of the Canterbury provincial set-up.

After retiring, Jones was the Wales backs coach under Warren Gatland, when they won back-to-back Six Nations titles.

He was also part of Namibia's coaching staff during the 2019 World Cup in Japan. 

There has been no official announcement from the Crusaders, but Jones confirmed the news to Welsh media.  

"I'm really excited," Jones told Wales Online. "It's a huge opportunity and the welcome I have had in New Zealand has been fantastic.

"I've spent a couple of weeks with them already and they are everything others have said they'd be, with open-minded people, who are great off the pitch and smart on it. It's a unique environment and it's been a pleasure so far. 

"Without being disrespectful to other rugby clubs, the Crusaders are probably regarded as the best rugby organisation in the world, so for them to feel I can add value means a lot.

"I'm a team defence coach with the Crusaders, while I'll also be running the attack and the backs with Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup at the end of the season.

"It's a dual role that allows me to stay out here all year round."

The Crusaders face the Hurricanes in Ashburton this Saturday, the first of two pre-season matches before their season-opener against the Waratahs in Nelson on February 1.