Welsh duo Stephen Jones and Jonathan Humphreys have been appointed as Wales assistant coaches as part of incoming head coach Wayne Pivac’s team.
The pair, both former Wales captains, have built impressive coaching CVs since retiring from playing.
Wales centurion Jones made 104 appearances for his country during a 13-year international career and represented the British & Irish Lions a further six times.
After hanging up his boots in 2013, the former fly-half went straight into coaching at English Premiership side Wasps. In August 2015 Jones returned to Wales to be part of Pivac’s coaching team at the Scarlets and helped the region to lift the Guinness PRO12 title in 2017.
Former hooker Humphreys, who made 35 appearances for Wales, 19 of them as captain, began his coaching career with the Ospreys in 2005. During eight years at the region he helped his side to three Celtic league titles and to EDF Energy Cup Final success in 2008. In the summer of 2013 he made the move north to become Scotland forwards coach and spent four years in the role until moving to Glasgow to become assistant coach at the Warriors.
Jones and Humphreys will link up with Wales and Pivac, who was announced as Wales’ next head coach earlier this year, following the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Two of the current Wales management team, Neil Jenkins and Paul ‘Bobby’ Stridgeon, are the first to announce they will remain in their roles post 2019. Jenkins, Wales’ all-time record points scorer, has been part of the national squad coaching set-up since 2006 and will continue in his role. The highly regarded former fly-half has also been part of three British & Irish Lions tours as coach, in addition to his two tours as player.
Stridgeon, the WRU Head of Physical Performance, joined Wales ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and has been an integral part of the Wales management team. He was part of the 2009, 2013 and 2017 British & Irish Lions. Further coaching appointments will be made in due course.
“I’m delighted with today’s announcement. We are bringing in two hugely experienced, quality Welsh coaches to our set-up in Stephen and Jonathan and have secured the services of both Neil and Paul which is vitally important,” said Pivac.
“The WRU have been forward thinking with their planning and recruitment for post RWC 2019 and this has allowed me to bring in and secure the coaches we wanted.
“Stephen and Jonathan are hugely respected not only for what they did on the field as players but in their careers as coaches and I’m delighted to have them as part of our team.
“They will bring a huge amount of experience, excitement and passion to their roles.
“It is fantastic that both Neil and Bobby will be part of the team going forward. They are both very well respected across the world game, possess huge international experience and will be an important part of our plans going forward.
“We are ahead of schedule with our appointments with more to be made but it is great we are able to confirm where we stand at the moment.”
Humphreys said: “It’s a huge honour to return to Wales during what is a really exciting time for Welsh Rugby. The opportunity to come back and coach my country with Wayne and Stephen is one that I couldn’t turn down.
“I’m indebted to Scottish Rugby. I’d like to thank Mark Dodson, Scott Johnson and Vern Cotter for giving me the opportunity to be involved in their vision six years ago. I will always take great pride in my time here and the growth and success that the whole of Scottish Rugby have experienced in that time.
“In the meantime I have a job to do in Glasgow and my focus will be solely here until the end of the season. The club set-up at Scotstoun is one of the best I have experienced during my coaching career and it would be fantastic to try and finish up with some silverware.”
Jones said: “I’m hugely excited with the opportunity.
“It is a great honour to be asked to coach your country and I’m really looking forward to the challenge and very much looking forward to working with Jon, Neil and Paul for what I hope will be a very exciting period in Welsh rugby.
“I’m very grateful to the Scarlets for the opportunity I have had with them and for their continued support.
“Whilst excited by this role, my focus is fully on the Scarlets and the rest of our campaign.”
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