After just one year in the role, Clive Jones has decided to step down as Cardiff Blues Director of Development this summer, taking up a position with Coleg y Cymoedd instead.
The former Treorchy player has established himself as a respected coach since his playing days, with stints at Pontypridd, Celtic Warriors and Rhondda Schools, where he has gained most notoriety as setting up a production line of age grade and senior internationals with his brother, Chris.
After helping to setup the very successful Coleg y Cymoedd rugby academy, Jones was appointed Director of Development at Cardiff Blues last summer, with a brief to bring through a greater number of professional standard youngster in response to the financial constraints faced by the business.
Upon his arrival he spoke of how ‘rugby in this region has always been fiercely tribal and we need to embrace and encourage it’, using ‘seven Districts, two Provinces, one Region’ as a strapline for what he planned to do in his role.
Aside from allocating academy players to Premiership clubs in line with the postcodes of the school/junior sides they represented, which fell apart towards the end of the season as it always does, the main change made by Clive Jones was to split the Cardiff Blues U18 side in two.
Whereas all the other regions have a single U18 team representing them, after an amalgamation of the geographically split U16 sides, Cardiff Blues decided to enter North and South U18 teams in the Regional Age Grade Tournament.
Unfortunately this ended in a results disaster, as both sides finished closer to RGC at the bottom of the table than they did to Scarlets, Ospreys and Dragons above them, which we looked at in closer detail here.
The exact reasons for Jones choosing to move on are not known at this time, but the U18 side is unifying again next season as the pathway up the 18 years old reverts to how it was in the 2016/17 season.
No replacement has been announced as of yet, but with the new U23 side being formed it may be that the role of Director of Development is no more, and whoever takes over as the U23 coach also takes responsibility for all aspects of the 18-22 development period.