Wales wing Mark Jones was forced to retire at the slender age of thirty this summer, on the back of a testimonial season that also saw him captain his beloved Scarlets.
Many could have forgiven the 45 times capped winger if he decided to take a break from the game, however Jones has jumped straight into the coaching ring and likes what he sees.
“I am really excited about the new challenges ahead, and I am passionate about bringing through the youth and the Welsh players of tomorrow,” said Jones, who is now employed as a skills coach at the Parc-y-Scarlets.
Jones joins a new look backroom team which sees Simon Easterby in the role of defence coach and Robin McBryde take charge of the forwards, a role he will combine with his commitments to the national team.
The coaches saw their young side go down to a more experienced Gloucester team on the weekend but it has given Jones hope ahead of an exciting new season.
“I’m going to be working alongside the first team but I’m also going to be working closely with the academy and age group sides and from what I have seen so far it is really positive,” added Jones.
“We gave a run out to some younger guys, an 18-year-old on the wing and a couple of 19-year-olds in the midfield and I thought they held their own. Bringing them into this environment and giving them this exposure will help their development.
“We have put together a good team off the field and we are working hard to develop our squad and build on the last season. Obviously we were disappointed with where we ended up last time around but we have got into the Heineken Cup and we need to take our chance this time.
“We can start afresh this season and we want to be fighting for titles not fighting for qualification places. I am sure we can do that and I’m excited to be playing my part.”