Rugby union: Mark Jones likes what he sees at Rotherham Titans

Mark Jones
Mark Jones

New Rotherham Titans coach Mark Jones, the former Wales international and the biggest name to have been signed by the Clifton Lane club in their history, has praised the quality of the squad he has inherited from predecessor Lee Blackett.

Jones, aged 35, capped 47 times by Wales and a Grand Slam winner in 2008, has just completed his first week in his new job, which he’s described as “a great opportunity to coach a very good Championship club”.

The former Llanelli Scarlets’ winger, who appeared in the 2003 and 2007 World Cups, says his ambitions for Rotherham are clear.

“I think the signs are encouraging,” he said. “The squad that has been assembled by forwards coach Steve Salvin and director Martin Jenkinson is a good one. The club have finished in the top four in the last two seasons and I’m aiming to do something similar if not better.

“If you are a Rotherham fan, you should be expecting to be in and around the top four at the end of the season. I’ve certainly not come here to finish low down the Championship table.

“I’m very comfortable with the squad and, as an outsider looking in, I can tell it’s a tight group of players. I will not be messing around with the culture of the club, which is a good one.

“Rotherham may have modest facilities and finance, but they embrace those stumbling blocks, and their behaviour breeds excellence.

“The club have a tremendous record of producing players who have moved on, and hopefully we have players in the dressing room who want to play for England.

“The Championship is a tough professional league with five or six particular clubs who are good opposition - and that includes the other Yorkshire teams, Doncaster and Yorkshire Carnegie.

“I can assure Titans fans Rotherham will be properly prepared for those derby games.

“Coming from west Wales, I know the importance of bragging rights.”