Jones set to re-shape Blues pathway system

15.7.2017 www.wru.co.uk

Jones set to re-shape Blues pathway system

Clive Jones, one of the most successful coaches at under 18 level in Wales in recent years, has been named as the new director of development at the Cardiff Blues.

With a strong brief to help develop future players for the Blues from within the region, the former Treorchy, Pontypridd and Coleg y Cymoedd coach has already overseen a dramatic realignment of the region's player pathway.

Having helped to produce 34 age grade internationals during his six-year stint as director of rugby at Coleg y

Cymoedd, a number of who have gone on to play for the Blues and Wales, Jones is uniquely placed to fil the new role. With his brother Chris, he established the renowned Rhondda rugby programme, a conveyor belt of rugby talent that now makes up 26 per cent of Danny Wilson's senior Blues squad.

"My role is to create a framework for this region that best fits its geography and history - both traditional and social - to enable the undoubted talent here to be maximised," said Jones.

"Our region has two distinct areas in terms of geography. There is a mountainous area to the north - the Beacons and Valleys - and a flatter, coastal area to the south - Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. These two 'provinces' (north and south) have distinct characteristics and, though having an inter-dependent history, are each unique.

"They are made up of seven natural districts, again each having strong identities. This is the region and it is upon these natural and historical entities we must build our framework.

"Rugby in this region has always been fiercely tribal and we need to embrace and encourage that, both between our districts and our two provinces. I am a firm believer in producing players by design, not chance, and our unique composition as a region lends itself to it perfectly.

"This is the Blues region - seven Districts, two Provinces, one Region. We will build on these districts and empower these provinces with a re-working of our academy system to give more players opportunity and focus our effort and resources, in partnership with our Premiership Clubs, on the 18-22 year old bracket.

"Through this we can align the region and maximise the potential we all know lies within its boundaries."

With nearly one million people living within the Blues region, and given the great rugby tradition within the area, Jones has been charged with creating a development strategy that harnesses this talent in partnership with the Premiership clubs.

"We see Clive as a key component to the new direction we intend to take. Through Pontypridd, Rhondda Schools and Coleg y Cymoedd, he has an excellent track-record of both identifying and developing talent, and putting the right structures in place," said Blues chief executive Richard Holland.

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