Stephen Jones leave Wasps for Scarlets

Welsh rugby region the Scarlets have announced that their fly-half and fans favourite Stephen Jones will return to the club at the end of the current season to take up a coaching postion.

The Welsh and British and Irish Lions fly half joined Wasps from the Scarlets in 2012, as Wasps’ first choice 10, and went on to make a successful transition to coaching the following season.

Carmarthen born Jones, who made over 300 appearances for Llanelli and Scarlets over a 14 year period with the region, will join the Scarlets coaching team ahead of the 2015-16 season as Backs Coach.

“I have enjoyed every minute of my time here at Wasps, first as a player and secondly while I have cut my teeth in a coaching career in such a great league,” said Jones about his departure from Wasps.

Wasps will now look to recruit a new Backs Coach to replace Stephen next season, while the offer of a skills coaching role remains on offer to Andy Goode, to form part of Wasps senior coaching set up.

“I would like to thank all the players and coaches, particularly Dai Young who believed in me enough to give me my first opportunity as a coach. It is a pleasure to work with a great bunch of ambitious players, who are driven to succeed, and I am fortunate to work alongside such talented and respected coaches in Dai Young and Brad Davis.

“There is so much positivity at Wasps at the moment and it’s clear the Club is moving in the right direction. There is huge ambition to succeed at the highest level and it has been really rewarding to see the squad develop and improve over the past few years.

“After three very enjoyable years in London, the end of the season feels the right time to return home, and going back to the Scarlets, where I enjoyed 14 years as a player, will be a fantastic opportunity for me and my family.

“I have no doubt there are exciting times ahead for Wasps and I am really looking forward to the challenges we face during the rest of this season, as we continue to compete on three fronts; in Europe, the Aviva Premiership and the LV=Cup.”

Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young added,Stephen has been fantastic for us as a fly half, and since making the move from player to coach two seasons ago. He has decided the end of the season is the right time for his family to return to Wales, but he will be fully committed to achieving success with Wasps this season.

“Stephen is a very popular and well-respected member of the team and he will leave with our very best wishes and thanks for everything he has contributed to Wasps as a player and as a coach. But for now, all his and the squad’s focus is on progressing in the Aviva Premiership and Europe.”

Jones, Wales’ second highest point scorer, will make a welcome return to West Wales where he also has business interests away from rugby, in the shape of gourmet restaurant Sosban and the newly-opened B9-10 tapas bar in Llanelli’s Eastgate, with fellow former Scarlet Dwayne Peel.

Scarlets Head Coach Wayne Pivac said, “It is great for the region to be able to welcome back Stephen who’ll join the coaching team ahead of the new season.

“A world-class player in his day Stephen has developed into an exciting coach and we’re looking forward to welcoming him back to the region to ply his trade as a young backs coach.

“Stephen brings with him a wealth of experience, maturity and commands respect and I’m looking forward to working with him. Having spent the majority of his playing career here in Llanelli and West Wales he has a true understanding of what it means to be a Scarlet that will undoubtedly have a positive effect on our young squad.”

Commenting on his move back to West Wales and to the Scarlets Stephen Jones said: “I’m really looking forward to returning to Wales and back to the Scarlets where it all began for me.

“I’m grateful to Dai and all at Wasps for giving me an opportunity to start my coaching career and am relishing the exciting challenges still ahead of us in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe this season. I’m looking forward to then heading back to West Wales and developing further at my home region.

“I have some fantastic memories from my time with Llanelli and the Scarlets, they have made Parc y Scarlets a fortress and have some exciting young players making their way through the ranks.

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