PONTYPOOL have appointed Tom Hancock as backs coach to replace Neath-bound Matthew Jones.

The 33-year-old was appointed by head coach Leighton Jones as head of rugby analysis last summer after helping Pooler win back-to-back WRU National Championship titles on the field.

Now the former fly-half, who scored 587 points in 141 appearances for the club and also had a spell with Newport, will be charged with sparking the attack as Pontypool hunt a fourth successive crown and promotion to the Principality Premiership.

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"I knew when I was still playing that I could like to become a coach one day," said Hancock. "I have always been interested in the skills, backs play and general attack elements of the game and I'm excited to have been given this opportunity.

"I am confident in my ability and hope I've earned the respect of the other coaches and the players from my involvement with the analysis and skills work."

Pooler scored 118 tries on their way to the title but fell short in their clash with Llanelli for the final spot in the Premiership.

"The play-off game in May wasn't a true reflection of our potential attacking threat, but we do need to evolve and grow our attacking game," said Hancock.

"This season's Championship will undoubtedly be the most competitive yet and if we want to lift a fourth consecutive league title, we will need to make improvements to our game."

The promotion of Hancock is the sole change to Leighton Jones' management team with the former hooker pleased to have a ready-made replacement for Matthew Jones.

"I think Tom will prove himself to be an excellent choice as the club's new backs coach," he said. "He has been involved with the club as a player, analyst and now as a coach - I think he will excel.

"He is an articulate and conscientious individual who has the respect of everyone at the club. His analysis work was a real asset to us last season and I'm pleased that he will be combining both roles.

"As a player, he read the game well and I'm looking forward to seeing him put his mark on

our attacking game this season."

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Former Dragons fly-half Jones leaves after three seasons at Pontypool with a return to Neath, his first club, too good to turn down for the head of rugby at Coleg Gwent.

"We achieved so much to be proud of and I feel as if I have made some friends for life. I would like to thank everyone for helping to make my three years at Pontypool Park so enjoyable. I wish the club and everyone associated with it every success for the future," he said.

"I offered my help and advice to Leighton on who I believed would be a suitable replacement as backs coach and it was a straightforward conversation.

"Tom Hancock has been around the club for a long time and has all of the qualities needed to become a top coach.

"In terms of my move to Neath, I'm looking forward to returning to where it all started. The club has a special place in my heart, but that is also now true of Pontypool."