Pontypool RFC is delighted to announce that Leighton Jones has signed a new deal with the club.
Head coach Jones will extend his tenure at Pontypool Park until 2023, as the club continues the quest for promotion to the Indigo Group Premiership.
The one-year extension comes after a hugely successful spell in charge with three consecutive WRU National Championship titles since taking the helm in 2016.
He was won 100 of his 108 games and led the club to become the first to go through the WRU National Championship with a 100 per cent win record in the 2017/18 season and then repeated that achievement in the following campaign.
Pooler have also enjoyed great results against teams from the top flight with victories over Llanelli RFC, Cardiff RFC, Carmarthen Quins RFC and Bridgend Ravens RFC in the WRU National Cup before pushing then-champions Merthyr RFC all the way in semi-final three years ago.
Jones, who is also head coach of the Pontypool Schools Under-15s, first joined the club back in 1997, and spent over a decade as hooker for Pooler and followed in his father’s footsteps – Steve ‘Junna’ Jones – by wearing the captain’s armband.
In total he pulled on the Pooler jersey 172 times, the final one of those came in April 2019, when he had to come on as a replacement hooker in a 39-26 victory over TATA Steel RFC.
After helping the club win the Welsh National Division One in 2003, and captaining the club to the Division One East title in 2008, he retired as a player.
But he returned to the club in 2013, as part of Mike Hook’s coaching set-up before taking over the role himself three years later – again just like his father.
Pontypool CEO Ben Jeffreys is excited with what the future holds with Jones continuing to lead the club forward.
“He inherited the head coach position at a really difficult time in the club’s history,” explained Jeffreys.
“We’d been locked out of the Premiership for three seasons and in that time he’s really galvanised the club and the benefits the club has seen is plain to see.
“Three successive National Championship titles, long unbeaten runs and the on-field performances.
“Leighton has been an outstanding representative of Pontypool RFC. His association of the club goes back 20 years as a player, a captain and now head coach.
“And it’s really the values he has instilled in this club; honesty, integrity, he has high standards but he delivers those standards and embodies them himself in what he does here.
“Although we’ve had a challenging season with COVID and the uncertainty and the instability around the league programme that is not a reflection of where we are as a club.
“We’re in a very positive place heading into an extremely important season next season.
“Leighton is the person who is leading that and has done a tremendous job of bringing stability during a challenging time and we have every confidence that Leighton is going to help take this club back into the Premiership next season.”
Jones shares the vision of Jeffreys and insists his desire to get the club back into the Premiership is something that motivates him.
“With my time at the club and with the relationship I have with the owners it was never a question about if I was going to sign, I was always going to stay at the club,” he said.
“We’re only on the start of the road to where we want to be so it was never a second thought in my mind about committing.
“That [promotion] is something that we have failed with in the past when we’ve had the opportunity.
“Being here and seeing people inside the group and the supporters so disappointed, that is something that drives me quite massively.
“To give the people in the club, the supporters and the community something they deserve and that is Premiership rugby and a local buzz around the town.”