Leicester Tigers will welcome Leigh Jones to the club in the newly-created role of General Manager of Rugby.
Jones, who is currently General Manager of Rugby Performance with the Hong Kong Rugby Union, will commence with Tigers on May 1.
“Leigh is a world-class, experienced operator who we are excited to be welcoming to the club"Tigers CEO, Andrea Pinchen
The Welshman has previously held senior coaching roles with Ebbw Vale, Newport Gwent Dragons and the Welsh Rugby Union, including leading the Wales ‘A’ programme under Sir Graham Henry.
Jones was also a senior member of the Japanese support team at the 2015 Rugby World Cup alongside now-England head coach Eddie Jones and Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick.
During his time with the HKRU, Jones has also held the role of national coach and coach education manager, and has overseen the national team’s rise to 22nd on the men’s World Rugby Rankings, the second-highest team in Asia behind Japan, as well as being the current holders of the Asia Rugby Championship, while their women’s side are on the verge of securing a place in a second successive Rugby World Cup.
The newly-created role will be responsible for the off-field performance of Leicester Tigers, including overseeing the Oval Park facility, and have responsibility for the operational processes and procedures at the training ground, and drive the cultural and performance standards at all levels of the rugby programme, including the academy and senior squads.
"From a personal perspective, the opportunity to assume the General Manager role with an organisation like Leicester Tigers does not come along often, and was one that I could not turn down"Leigh Jones
Additionally, the General Manager of Rugby will work alongside Head Coach Steve Borthwick on the development of the current coaching and performance team and playing squad, as well as the recruitment of coaches, performance staff and players at Leicester Tigers, in line with the new-look recruitment and development structure, pathway and process.
Speaking about the appointment of Jones and creation of the new role, Leicester Tigers Chief Executive Officer Andrea Pinchen said: “Leigh is a world-class, experienced operator who we are excited to be welcoming to the club.
“In the new role Leigh will oversee the entire rugby programme’s operations, with a big-picture view as to where this club wants and needs to get to, and for which Steve [Borthwick], Aled [Walters] and the entire coaching team and performance staff have worked hard to build the foundations since July 1 of last year.
“As well as driving world-class standards in our operations and overseeing the processes at the club, Leigh will be a key member of the senior leadership team at Leicester Tigers to ensure we uphold the standards expected of everybody at this club and we are very confident in his ability to do that, as well as being excited about what he will bring to this role.
“Working with Steve and understanding his vision for the team, Leigh will manage the development and recruitment process, which is critical in helping to deliver the standard of on-field performance our season ticket holders, supporters and the entire Tigers community expect.
“The process of recruiting Leigh was one we have worked diligently and patiently on, to ensure we found the very best person for the job.
“The foundations are coming together for this new-look Leicester Tigers. Our journey is underway and we are starting to see positive signs on and off the field, so to be able to further add strength with an appointment of someone of Leigh’s calibre is a promising one for everybody in the Tigers community to be excited about.”
Jones admitted the opportunity to join a club like Leicester was too good to turn down.
“From a personal perspective, the opportunity to assume the General Manager role with an organisation like Leicester Tigers does not come along often, and was one that I could not turn down,” he said.
“I am eager to take on this challenge and thankful for the encouragement I have received from present and former players, staff and board members at the Hong Kong Rugby Union.”
Looking forward to a reunion with Borthwick, who he worked alongside previously with the Japanese national team, Jones added: “I have seen a lot of very good, young, bright coaches come through and Steve is one of the best I have worked with.
“He is innovative, good on his feet, has a tremendous work ethic and has a good connection with the players.”
Speaking about the process building up to his appointment, Jones said: “What has resonated with me is that there is a real common cause and goal among people at the club to get Leicester Tigers back to the top.
“There is a clear understanding with everyone and it starts with the development and recruitment of the right people and hopefully I’ll put another piece in what is a very important jigsaw at Tigers.”
Jones will commence in the new role on May 1, after completing his duties with the Hong Kong Rugby Union.