KINGSLEY Jones has committed his future to Newport Gwent Dragons by penning a new long-term deal with the region and has been given the title of head coach.
The 44-year-old former Wales captain was brought to the Rodney Parade by director of rugby Lyn Jones last summer and was given responsibility for the forwards while head coach Darren Edwards, who left the region in February, looked after the backs.
Jones, who quit his role as boss of Russia last month, was linked with a move to his old club Gloucester after the shock summer departure of former Wales assistant Nigel Davies.
But the Nantyglo-born coach has agreed a three-year deal with the region and is set to have more influence on the paddock at the Dragons’ new state-of-the-art training base at Ystrad Mynach.
“For the last seven or eight years we have been tagged as the fourth Welsh region and the coaching post here is seen by many as a tough job,” said Jones, who has previously coached Doncaster, Sale and London Welsh.
“But I relish the challenge and feel that it is a great honour for me to be coaching Gwent as I am born and bred in the region.
“I have an excellent working relationship with Lyn and together we are driven to help bring success to the region.
“It will be a hard process but the future is positive, especially with 11 Dragons in the Wales Under-20s squad at the Junior World Championship. Our fans should have plenty to cheer about in the near future.”
Meanwhile, the Dragons have confirmed that they will take on Bristol in a pre-season friendly at Ashton Gate.
They will take on the West Country outfit, who were beaten by London Welsh in the Championship playoff final, on Sunday, August 17 (kick-off 3pm).
Bristol have assembled an expensive squad that they had hoped would be playing Aviva Premiership rugby and the Dragons could be locking horns with Welshmen Ryan Jones, Dwayne Peel and Matthew Morgan and Samoa aces Jack Lam, Anthony Perenise and David Lemi.
The Dragons are lining up another away friendly against Aviva Premiership opposition as they look to avoid a repeat of the 2013 pre-season, which saw them enjoy just one warm-up game against Bath.