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Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis

As Wayne Pivac teeters on the edge of finding new gainful employment after a series of disappointing results, the wider-lens story tells of dysfunction and frustration

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Lyn Jones steps down as Russia head coach

By Paul Smith
Lyn Jones has stepped down as Russia boss (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Three years after taking the helm of Russia’s national team former Wales flanker Lyn Jones has stepped down.

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The 57-year-old Jones, who won five caps for his country in the early 1990’s, won many plaudits for taking Russia to a World Cup for the second time in Japan 2019.

But with the 2023 qualifying tournament being badly disrupted by COVID-19 postponements, Jones has decided to call time on his Moscow experience.

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Antoine Dupont
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Antoine Dupont

Igor Artemyev, chairman of the Russian rugby federation, paid tribute to Jones’ contribution.

“I have great respect for the work done by Lyn Jones, though there were serious problems with Covid and it was difficult for the head coach to travel to Russia,” he said.

“Lyn began to rejuvenate the national team and in the future that can bring good results.”

The veteran Welshman took over from compatriot and former Dragons colleague Kingsley Jones who has since coached the Canadian national team.

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Jones was joined in the Moscow coaching box by former Ospreys and Dragons fly half Shaun Connor, who was appointed backs coach.

Russia lost 30-10 to hosts Japan in the opening match of the 2019 World Cup before suffering further defeats at the hands of Ireland, Scotland and Samoa.

Russia, who are ranked 25th in the world, have beaten Romania and Netherlands this year and lost to Georgia, Portugal, Spain and Chile.

Jones, who previously coached Neath, Ospreys, London Welsh, Dragons and Namibia, is likely to be a contender for any jobs which become vacant within the United Rugby Championship.

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His playing career began with a seven-year spell at the Gnoll where he was part of the Neath squad which dominated Welsh club rugby in the 1980’s.

But after suffering a serious knee injury Jones joined Llanelli for the remaining five seasons of his career during which he was capped by his country.

Jones began coaching in 1994 aged just 30.

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