Robert Jones (rugby player)

Robert Jones (rugby player)

Robert Jones (born 10 November 1965 at Trebanos, Wales) is a former Welsh rugby union footballer and a current rugby coach. He was capped 54 times for Wales during his career, at that time a record. He joins Gareth Edwards, Rob Howley and Dwayne Peel as the only scrum halves to achieve 50 caps or more for Wales.

Jones attracted widespread admiration during his playing career for his invention and the quality of his passing, which was often referred to by pundits as the best in the world. In addition the accuracy of his box-kicking from the base of the scrum or line-out was a potent weapon, used to best effect during Wales' 1989 victory over England at Cardiff Arms Park, and the subsequent Lions tour to Australia. His attractive style of play earned him many invitations to play for the Barbarians in addition to his club and international selections.

He made his debut for Swansea RFC as a schoolboy and went on to play 286 games between 1983 and 2001/02, scoring 50 tries, captaining them in 1989/90 and 1990/91.

He formed a notable partnership for Wales with the outside-half Jonathan Davies before the latter's move to rugby league. Jones and Davies were important members of the Welsh team which won the Triple Crown in 1988. One of the most memorable tries of that championship came in the game against Scotland when Jones supplied Davies with a long reverse pass, the latter then kicking ahead and beating his Scottish marker for pace to the goal line. Later in the same game he sent out two high quality passes to Davies under extreme pressure, enabling Davies to score drop goals on both occasions, and winning Wales the match.

In 1989 Jones was part of the victorious British and Irish Lions tour to Australia, enjoying some memorable confrontations with the Wallabies' scrum half Nick Farr-Jones. In 1993 he toured New Zealand with the British Lions.

Jones also played for Western Province in South Africa during the 1994 Currie Cup tournament, forming a memorable partnership with South African fly-half Joel Stransky. He also played for English club Bristol Rugby, captaining them in 1997/98.

Jones was succeeded at scrum-half for Wales by Rupert Moon, a move which attracted some controversy. Few would argue that Jones was the more technically accomplished scrum-half. However, he was often playing behind a weak Welsh pack at the time and Moon was brought in because of his more physical attributes rather than superior scrum-half techniques.

Jones retired from international rugby after the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, and from all rugby in 2001.

Since retiring, Jones can often be heard on BBC radio as a rugby pundit, and is an assistant coach at the Llanelli Scarlets.

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