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Scarlets Attack Coach Mark Jones and his West Wales Region will part company before the end of the current playing season by mutual agreement with early release allowing Jones to pursue other career opportunities.

The committed former Scarlets and Wales winger who has dedicated more than 17 years service to his club and Region as both player and coach will move on from his current role immediately ahead of the next round of Guinness PRO12 fixtures.

As a player Jones made 163 appearances for Llanelli RFC and Scarlets over 12 seasons, scoring 85 tries and achieved 47 caps for Wales including Rugby World Cups in 2003 and 2007 and the Grand Slam winning side of 2008. He played his last season in Scarlets colours in 2009/10 as Captain retiring through injury in August 2010.

He then made a seamless and successful transfer into coaching his Region with his ability and commitment to Welsh rugby rewarded with a call up into the Wales national set-up to assist Caretaker Coach Rob Howley during the Autumn Series, as well as the 2013 Six Nations, in which Wales retained their title.

Mark Jones said: “I’ve had many great years as a Scarlet, both as a player and then as Coach and I leave with fond memories and grateful for all the opportunities I have been given.

“All coaches have their own philosophies which makes the game exciting and diverse, and the strong set of values and standards I gained through experience as a Scarlets player over many years have continued to be the foundations of my coaching career.

“The Scarlets are developing a new direction and philosophy within the coaching and playing group which differs from my own and we all agree it makes sense that the coaching group are allowed to pursue this new direction without me.

“It is time to move on now, it’s the right decision for the Region and allows me to spend some quality time with my family and embark on the next chapter in my career. I wish the squad the very best for the rest of the season and especially with their quest to finish in the top six of the Guinness PRO12.

“The Scarlets has been the biggest part of my life but I feel that the time is right to further myself, both personally and professionally, and I’m excited by the future and looking forward to the new challenges ahead.”

Scarlets Chairman Nigel Short said: “After long discussions, we are all agreed that now is the right for Mark to depart. I would like to thank him for his contribution during his playing and coaching career. Dedication, commitment and professionalism are traits Mark has always displayed as a Scarlet and for that we are truly grateful. He will be an asset to his new employers and we wish him the very best for the future.”

Scarlets Head of Rugby Development and Recruitment Gareth Jenkins who has worked with Mark Jones throughout his Scarlets career said: “I’m personally very sorry to see Mark leave the Scarlets, he has been a loyal servant to our Region and a big part of our progression and profile as a rugby group.

“His ability as a technical coach is exceptional, and as player he was popular and respected by peers across the game working hard throughout his club and international career and then applying this knowledge and experience in his early coaching career to great effect.

“He leaves with all our very best wishes and sincere thanks for all he has done for Scarlets rugby for so many years at every level.”