EX-WALES winger Mark Jones has been appointed as a senior assistant coach by Worcester Warriors.

The 41-year-old former flyer, from Llanafan Fawr, near Builth Wells, and who came up through the Bulls’ age grade sides before being capped 47 times for Wales, will join the Gallagher Premiership side on Thursday when his contract with New Zealand giants Crusaders officially ends.

Jones, who just months ago won a Super Rugby Aotearoa title with the Crusaders, said New Zealand’s Covid-19 restrictions had forced his hand as protocols prevent him from returning with his family.

Jones – who was backs coach for the Scarlets and Wales following his retirement as a player and also held a similar position with Namibia during the 2019 Rugby World Cup – will look after the defence and kicking game under Worcester director of rugby Alan Solomons.

“Once it became clear that I would not be able to go back to Canterbury because of the quarantine situation, things happened very quickly with Warriors,” Jones, who scored 13 tries for Wales from 2001-09, told the club’s website.

“I was made aware that Alan Solomons was looking for someone to fill a key position in the coaching team and would I be interested.

“I came up, had a look around the facilities and had a chat with Alan about his thoughts for the project, to meet the coaching group and get a feel for the place.

“Once I did that it was pretty clear that it was a very exciting prospect hence my interest. I know the coaches there, they are great men and I could see myself working well with them and dove-tailing with them.

“The owners have got a real ambition to have a steady but sustainable growth over the next few years based around great facilities, a young squad underpinned by the academy and a forward-looking mentality which aligned well with myself.

“I have been fortunate under the current circumstances to find something that aligns as well as it has done.”

“Mark is a well-known former Wales International who has developed into an outstanding coach,” said Solomons.

“He has spent the last two seasons working as defence coach with the Crusaders Super Rugby team and attack coach with Canterbury in the Mitre Cup team where he has made a huge impression.

“Mark is the ideal fit for us and I look forward to all of us working together in taking the club forward.”

Jones will link up again with former Wales team-mate Jonathan Thomas in the coaching team at Sixways.

Jones thanked the Crusaders and Canterbury for their support, having joined them in January last year. “I would like to thank Canterbury and the Crusaders for all their amazing support and understanding around my family situation and difficult circumstances on regaining entry to New Zealand,” said Jones.

“Their support in this transition has been immense. Coaching there has been a terrific experience that we will look back on with great memories.

“Canterbury and Crusaders are among the few organisations that actually exceed their exceptional reputation around the world.”

Jones played in two Rugby World Cups for Wales – 2003 in Australia and 2007 in France – in an illustrious international career while he was playing for Llanelli then the Scarlets.

Injury curtailed what would surely have been an even more impressive international career, but he has since made a seamless transition into coaching, initially with the Scarlets and Wales.

He moved on to England when he took charge of Rotherham Titans for their 2015/16 Championship campaign. And, after three years at the helm of Colwyn Bay-based Welsh Premiership club RGC, Jones worked with Namibia before the chance of a lifetime came up to go to New Zealand where he took up a combined role with Crusaders in Super Rugby and Canterbury in the National Provincial Championship.