8:17am Wednesday 18th June 2014
HEAD coach Kingsley Jones is relishing the chance to really get his teeth into the job at Newport Gwent Dragons this season, writes Chris Kirwan.
The 44-year-old former Wales flanker was brought to Rodney Parade by director of rugby Lyn Jones last summer as an assistant coach, combining the role with his work in charge of the Russian national team.
Kingsley Jones helped make a great impact in the opening months of the campaign but grew increasingly frustrated at being part-time, especially at the turn of the year when commitments coaching Russia took over.
But he has now left his job with the Bears, who are looking to qualify for a place in Wales' group at next year's World Cup, and is looking forward to being a permanent fixture at the region's new training base at Ystrad Mynach.
"This is the start of coaching the Dragons for me," said Jones, who has penned a three-year contract. "I enjoyed working with the players last year but it was frustrating doing it on a part-time basis.
"I was here to help Lyn but wasn't involved from January to March. The first few months of the season were great but it does get difficult to come in and tell players what to do and when to do it when you have been away.
"It was a difficult mix and as far as I am concerned I start properly this season. I will be doing a lot more and helping to take the pressure off Lyn.
"It was similar when I worked with Philippe Saint-Andre at Sale; the titles don't really matter, we are two guys with a lot of experience and that allows us to share the workload."
Kingsley is currently at the helm while Lyn is in New Zealand watching the Junior World Championship. The pair will be joined in Ystrad Mynach by new elite performance manager Huw Bevan and they will continue to bring in consultant coaches.
"When Lyn was in charge at London Welsh he brought in (former England sevens captain and Gloucester scrum-half) Simon Amor," said Jones. "He did lots on the small details about playing off nine, getting the backs moving, fixing fringe defenders around rucks.
"It's fantastic for players to have clinics with these specialists, whether it's once a week or once a month. It can be a really effective way of doing things and a powerful tool.
"We can bring in specialists whether it's for locks, half-backs, kicking and I think there is enough expertise in Wales to do that."
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