FORMER Wales prop Ceri Jones has been announced as the new head coach of RGC.

Having begun his playing career in Newport, Jones made the move to English team Harlequins in 2003 and became a club stalwart, amassing over 230 appearances and scoring 24 tries.

Following his time in London, Jones then moved to Worcester Warriors in 2011 before a serious achilles injury halted his playing days in 2013. Jones moved swiftly into coaching, becoming the Warriors’ scrum coach before moving to Dragons, initially as forwards before becoming interim head coach.

He said, “I’m delighted to be here and can’t wait to get working with the lads on a full time basis.

“RGC is a sleeping giant – a huge area with an increasing number of people participating in rugby. When you combine that with the amazing facilities available at Parc Eirias then you are talking about a fully-fledged rugby region in all but name.

“I’ve had the opportunity to see the players train and there is some great talent on show. It’s a young squad and I’ll be aiming to develop them and strengthening the pathway so that more players can come through the academy programme and go on to represent RGC, Wales age grade teams and the Wales National Team.”

RGC general manager, Alun Pritchard, was full of praise for Jones: “Ceri’s experience speaks for itself having played at the highest level for a number of years and then also coaching at top clubs such as Worcester and Dragons. He complements our existing coaching team and I look forward to working closely with him, developing RGC and continuing our upwards trajectory”.

WRU Head of Participation, Geraint John, added: “The role is to support the academy in North Wales and RGC and to help develop players from the age of 16 upwards in our regional academy programme.

John also said he was extremely grateful for the support of all the clubs in North Wales and continuing support of Conwy County Borough Council, before adding: “The appointment also ensures there will be an alignment as Ceri will also be head coach of RGC team – many of the players are not only involved in our academy programme, but are also involved in the playing side for RGC.

“North Wales is part of our development region for the Welsh Rugby Union, strategically it’s our aim to support and grow the game in North Wales on and off the field. We’re fortunate someone of the calibre of Ceri is following in the footsteps of the likes of Phil Davies and Mark Jones.

“Ceri has a proven record of developing players at the Dragons and Worcester and now his knowledge of right across North Wales hopefully will help to attract players and make them better and his appointment is also good for coaches in the future as well.

“He is also someone who knows the Premiership, knows the clubs in the division and has had success in the past with Ebbw Vale so we’re hoping he will continue to develop players to be competitive in the Premiership for North Wales.”