Pontypool, South Wales - Pontypool RFC is pleased to announce that the club has appointed Leighton Jones as head coach with immediate effect.
Jones assumes the role having served as Pooler’s forwards coach for the previous three seasons and follows in the footsteps of his father, the late Steve “Junna” Jones - who as head coach - masterminded Pooler’s Welsh National League Division One Championship triumph in 2003.
“To become head coach of Pontypool RFC and have the opportunity to emulate my father’s achievements is a tremendous honour for both me and my family,” said Jones.
“Having been born and bred in Pontypool, all I have ever wanted was to represent Pontypool RFC. I have been fortunate to do that as a player and a captain, but to serve as head coach is the ultimate honour and I cannot wait to get stuck into the role.
Jones’ association with Pooler dates back almost twenty years to 1997, where his thunderous performances rapidly earned him the reputation of being a committed and combative hooker.
His enduring sacrifice was later rewarded by being honoured as the club’s captain for the 2007-08 season, in which under his stewardship, Pooler won the Ben Francis Cup and earned promotion back to the Welsh Premiership Division by being crowned Division One East Champions.
As head coach, Jones aims to bring similar successes to Pontypool Park – whether that be in the reformed Principality Premiership or the more familiar SSE SWALEC Championship division.
“We have all the ingredients in place to take Pooler right back to the top, but this season has perhaps shown that there are still many improvements that can be made,” he said.
“The club has established a solid foundation under the work of Louie Tonkin and couple this with the togetherness that exists within the squad, I am confident that the club will continue to thrive.
“Everybody here has and will continue to give 110% for the Pontypool RFC badge. We all want success so bad and I am determined to ensure we achieve that goal.
Pontypool chief executive officer, Ben Jeffreys, is in no doubt that Jones is the right man to lead the club into the future.
On his appointment, he said: “Since returning to the club as forwards coach, Leighton’s commitment to the club has been unmatchable and his development has grown exponentially.
“Leighton possesses all of the qualities that are so pivotal to maintaining the fabric of what makes Pontypool RFC such a unique and passionate environment. His integrity and passion is infectious and the level of squad retention we have for next season speaks volumes about just how respected he is within the team environment.
“Although we face some uncertainty in terms of what league we will be participating in for the next few seasons, we have one constant in that everybody within our management group and surrounding team are driven to retain what we have built together.
“The hard work starts now and I am delighted that we have a management group in place that will ensure Pontypool RFC flourishes.
“We are up for the fight and I have no doubt that there are many bright days ahead for this rugby club, starting from today.”