AGED just 26, Rhys Jones is not used to being the experienced head in the squad but he’ll fill that role for the Newport Gwent Dragons sevens tonight.
Jones, the elder son of Newport Gwent Dragons head coach Kingsley and big brother to Dorian, is vastly experienced in the sevens format having represented Wales at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
He missed out on Glasgow 2014 but he’ll be a key part of the Dragons team at tonight’s Premiership Rugby 7s tournament at The Stoop.
With regular sevens coach Nick Wakley unavailable this week, Jones has also been helping coach the youthful squad along with Newport’s Lee Beach and Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones.
And the former Scarlets fly-half says the Dragons team will be even stronger than the one that qualified from the Welsh leg of the tournament last week with the addition of Luke Morgan, who played for Wales at the Commonwealth Games.
“I’ve helped out with coaching along with Lee Beach, a World Cup-winning captain for Wales sevens,” he said.
“We’ve built on what Nick put in place and with a couple of new faces coming into the squad as well we’re going into this stronger and better than last week.
“We’ve got great ambitions; we want to do as well as we can and if we play to the best of our ability we can go a long way in this tournament.”
First up for the Dragons is a quarter-final against Newcastle Falcons at 7.15pm and Jones is confident of success but he says the tournament is really a chance for the youngsters to impress.
“This is right up there; it’s a big tournament for a lot of these Dragons boys coming through,” he said.
“It’s a great night for them to showcase their skills, show the coaches what they can do and try to make that next step into the Dragons side.
“Lyn was there last week watching and he’s coaching this week so it’s a great chance to them to impress.
“Sevens is a young man’s game and it’s a platform for the youngsters to express themselves,” he added. “There’s no pressure on them. We’re just looking to go out there and do the Welsh regions proud.
“Newcastle look like a very good team and quite a physical team.
“We’re only concentrating on that first game. It’s a massive game and we’re going to go out all guns blazing.”