Wales legend and former Blues coach join Moana Pasifika’s backroom staff

David Skippers
Tom Coventry and Stephen Jones image 2023.jpg

Moana Pasifika's new forwards coach Tom Coventry and backline coach Stephen Jones.

Wales legend Stephen Jones and former Blues assistant coach Tom Coventry have been added to Moana Pasifika’s backroom staff ahead of next year’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign.

The coaching duo bring plenty of international experience to Moana Pasifika and are highly respected in the game.

Highly regarded in Wales

Jones takes over as Moana’s new backline coach and is highly regarded in Wales as a player and a coach.

The 45-year-old represented Wales in 104 Tests at fly-half or inside centre between 1998 and 2011 and won numerous titles as a player at club and international level.

Amongst those include a Six Nations Championship, a Welsh Premier Division title, and a Celtic Division title and he has also participated in two tours with the British and Irish Lions, to New Zealand (2005) and South Africa (2009), making six Test appearances for the famous touring team.

He has also had great success as a backs and attack coach for Wales between 2019 and 2022 as he helped his country to a Six Nations title and Triple Crown in 2021.

Jones was also part of the Scarlets’ coaching team that qualified for the Champions Cup and helped the Welsh region to lift the PRO14 title during the 2016/2017 season.

He is set to add value to Moana Pasifika’s coaching staff and said he is both honoured and enthused to be named as an assistant coach for the club.

“I’m excited to join this organisation, and I’m looking forward to the new challenges of the Super Rugby Pacific competition,” he told Moana Pasifika’s official website.

“I am excited to bring my perspective to the style of rugby played in the Pacific and the Southern Hemisphere and help the next crop of Pasifika talent flourish.”

New Moana Pasifika head coach Tana Umaga is excited to be working with a coach of Jones’ quality and experience.

“He brings a different style of thought process to us as well as the necessary skillset for our attack and kicking strategy,” said Umaga. “He’ll also be able to develop our first five-eights and game drivers, which is crucial for not only Moana Pasifika but Samoa and Tonga as well.”

Forwards coach Tom Coventry

Meanwhile, Coventry is widely regarded as one of the best forwards coaches in New Zealand and he has won three Super Rugby titles during stints with the Blues and Chiefs.

Coventry also had stints as a forwards coach with North Harbour, Manu Samoa, New Zealand Schools, New Zealand U20s, and a four-year year spell as co-head coach of Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship (NPC).

As a player, Coventry made 51 appearances for Waikato in the NPC, which includes holding the Ranfurly Shield in 1993.

He has a good working relationship with Umaga, who is looking forward to working with Coventry at Moana Pasifika.

“His passion for the game and ability to pass on and educate players on our game of rugby is what we will need going forward with Moana Pasifika, especially with a lot of young and exciting forwards this season,” said Umaga.

Coventry is keen to take on a new coaching challenge in his well-established career.

“This is a great opportunity for me, and I’m grateful to be part of the Moana Pasifika organisation,” he said. “It’s exciting to be working with Tana as we commit ourselves to creating a very successful rugby franchise.”

Focused on developing Moana Pasifika

He is focused on developing Moana in a highly competitive Super Rugby Pacific tournament.

“Moana Pasifika are filled with extremely talented rugby players, and I look forward to bringing out that potential and contributing to the team’s success,” he said.

Jones and Coventry complete Moana’s group of assistant coaches for the 2024 season, with Pauliasi Manu (scrum coach) and Damian Karauna (skills coach) continuing their tenure with the club under Umaga.

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