PONTYPOOL, South Wales, 4th May 2018 – Pontypool RFC is delighted to announce that Leighton Jones has penned a new deal that will see him continue to serve as the club’s head coach until 2022.
Jones’ previous contract ran until the conclusion of the 2018-2019 season, but the new agreement ensures the Pooler frontman will remain at the helm at Pontypool Park for the next four seasons.
Since assuming the role of head coach following the club’s unsuccessful promotion push to the Principality Premiership in 2016, Jones has been instrumental in transforming the club’s fortunes.
Under his stewardship, Pooler have won 43 of 44 league matches and stormed to two successive WRU National Championship titles. This season, the club broke new ground by becoming the first team in National Championship history achieve a 100 percent win record.
The club has also enjoyed significant success in knock-out rugby, by reaching the quarter-final stages of the National Cup in two successive seasons, dispatching Premiership mainstays – Llanelli RFC, Cardiff RFC and Carmarthen Quins RFC - in the process.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to continue building on the significant progress we have made as a team over the last couple of seasons and I had absolutely no hesitation in committing my long-term future to the club,” said Jones - whose association to Pontypool RFC now extends beyond twenty years – firstly as a player, then captain and now coach.
“We have been successful in implementing positive change and establishing an honest environment with a group of people who are prepared to go into battle together has been critical to our success.
“I am really fortunate to have been surrounded by so many quality people and the success the club is currently experiencing goes well beyond my contributions, with everyone playing their part.
“We have spent the last couple of seasons building in preparation for the opportunity to earn promotion back to the Premiership, but equally, the club has the vision to look several years down the line.
“We are looking to grow in the right way and that is by continuing to develop local talent, whilst supplementing our team with quality leaders from further afield. This approach means that we have a team with an affinity to Pontypool and they are here for the right reasons.
“The club is in an excellent position, but it is exciting to know that we can improve so much more and I have every confidence that we will continue to build on the solid foundations already put in place in the coming years.”
The emphasis placed on developing a sustainable and successful environment signalled to Pontypool RFC chief executive officer, Ben Jeffreys, that it was vital to ensure Jones remained at the helm to lead the club’s quest to return to the Principality Premiership in 2019 and beyond.
On his decision to reward Jones with his new deal, he said: “Pontypool RFC is currently enjoying of one of the most successful periods its storied history and Leighton has been central to the club’s ever-expanding list of achievements.
“Whilst becoming ‘The Invincibles’ and our burgeoning reputation of eliminating prominent Premiership teams from the National Cup rightly gathers the majority of headlines, it is the underpinning work that Leighton and his equally driven team are implementing that is of most importance.
“Leighton has instilled a set of unshakeable core values that are proving to be the bedrock that ensures we all remain focused on not only competing for honours today, but that we have the structures in place to ensure we continue to do so in an appropriate way down the line.
“What is most exciting about the club’s current condition is that we are only beginning to scratch the surface of its true potential. That is why we were firm in committing our long-term support, not only to Leighton himself, but also his vision for how we can continue to make Pontypool RFC the beacon of Torfaen rugby.
“We are fully aware that we are entering one of the most pivotal moments in the club’s history, but we consider ourselves to be a legitimate threat in achieving our long-standing aim of earning promotion back to the Premiership and I have every confidence Leighton is the right person to lead the club into this exciting challenge.”
Pontypool RFC is actively preparing for the rigours of next season and the club will announce further positive developments – including team retentions and new signings – towards the latter stages of May.