MARK Jones believes he has left RGC in safe hands after three years in the Principality Premiership following his announcement to depart Eirias Park.

The 2005 Grand Slam winner from Builth Wells joined the North Wales Development Region as RGC head coach on the back of their promotion into the top flight of Welsh club rugby and built on the good work of predecessors Clive Griffiths, Chris Horsman, Damian McGrath and Phil Davies.

Jones and his coaching team steered the side to an historic cup win and Principality Premiership play-off semi-final in the first Premiership season, and maintained a respectable eighth position with a young squad and entertaining brand of rugby this season.

Jones said: “Clearly the cup win will stay long in the memories of everyone involved, from the players to the supporters.

"However, what I’m most pleased about is creating a sustainable model for RGC which gives the people of North Wales the highest possible level of rugby.

“We came in at a time of real transition after an established side had secured a dream promotion but many of those players were either nearing the end of their careers or keen to gain new rugby experiences.

"Our challenge was to build a solid foundation on which to build momentum and I’m proud of what we’ve done.

“We’ve created an environment which is as professional as possible and we deliberately favour working with younger players as they tend to have more flexible lifestyles which frees them up for extra conditioning or skills sessions earlier in the day.”

Jones is leaving Stadiwm Zipworld for family reasons and to challenge himself further as a coach.

However the Builth Wells raised star spoke of his immense pride at the achievements of RGC.

“I’m so proud of helping to develop numerous players who’ve gone on to play at a higher level, either representing Wales at age grade or sevens, going on to gain professional regional contracts or moving on to clubs outside Wales," said Jones. "I hope I’ve done what was asked of me and more in many ways as we felt we had a duty to help raise the standard of rugby all over North Wales.

“We measure ourselves on player development and I’m delighted we stayed up as it’s key that RGC delivers the best level of rugby for the people of North Wales - both in terms of young, aspiring players and the supporters – and RGC is certainly one of the most well-supported sides in the Premiership.

“I believe I’ve left the set-up in a good place for the next head coach to be able to continue fairly seamlessly. The players know what is expected of them and the systems and structures are in place.”

Jones leaves his post at the end of June until which time he will continue to help with the hand-over ahead of next season.

North Wales academy manager Josh Leach and regional community manager Marc Roberts continue to lead the performance and participation elements of rugby in North Wales.

WRU community director Geraint John added, “We are grateful for all the hard work and dedication Mark Jones has shown to his role over the last three years. He has developed as a head coach in that time and made a huge impact in the development of North Wales players and gone above and beyond his role as head coach in helping to develop players and coaches across the region.

"He is respected as a coach but above all as a person.

"The North Wales Development Region remains a priority for us as a Union. It is vital that wherever you live in Wales, that there’s a pathway to fulfil your rugby potential, be it as a male or female player, coach, referee or volunteer.

"We will continue to help and support RGC as they prepare for the next stage in their journey.”