Stephen Jones: Former Wales attack coach joins Tana Umaga at Moana Pasifika
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Stephen Jones: Former Wales attack coach joins Tana Umaga at Moana Pasifika

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Stephen Jones
Fly-half Stephen Jones played 104 internationals for Wales and six Tests for the British and Irish Lions

Former Wales captain and assistant coach Stephen Jones has joined New Zealand-based Super Rugby side Moana Pasifika.

Jones left his role as Wales attack coach in December 2022 after Wayne Pivac was replaced by Warren Gatland.

The 45-year-old had been involved with Wales since the 2019 World Cup when he replaced Rob Howley.

Jones has joined the staff of former All Blacks captain and centre Tana Umaga.

“I’m excited to join this organisation and I’m looking forward to the new challenges of the Super Rugby Pacific competition,” said Jones.

“I am excited to bring my perspective to the style of rugby played in the Pacific and the Southern Hemisphere and help the next crop of Pasifika talent flourish.”

Umaga said Jones “brings a different style of thought process to us as well as the necessary skillset for our attack and kicking strategy”.

“He’ll also be able to develop our first five-eights and game drivers which is crucial for not only Moana Pasifika but Samoa and Tonga as well,” added Umaga,

Jones joins the Moana set-up along with three-time Super Rugby winner Tom Coventry, who will coach Moana’s forwards after previously being Umaga’s assistant with Samoa and Blues.

Coventry won his titles with Blues and Chiefs.

Former Wales fly-half Jones has had previous coaching role stints in club rugby with Wasps and Scarlets.

Moana Pasifika is a team made up of players from various Pacific Island nations, as well as New Zealand or Australian-born players of Pasifika heritage, including Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands.

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They are based in Auckland, but have been planning home games in Tonga and Samoa in 2024.

The team was originally created for a one-off match against the Maori All Blacks in December 2020, with the intention of joining the Super Rugby competition.

New Zealand Rugby confirmed the side had been granted an unconditional licence for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season and they played their inaugural match in the tournament in March 2022.

Umaga has taken over the head coach role after replacing Aaron Mauger as the side prepare for their third season.

In the 2023 campaign they won one game out of 14 and finished bottom of the table, but former All Black wing Julian Savea has signed for 2024.

Their opening game of the 2024 season will be against the Highlanders on Saturday, 24 February.

SOURCE : www.bbc.co.uk

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