Chris has been involved in Rugby since the age of 4 years way back in 1966! Thirty years later he retired from playing rugby having achieved over 250 premiership matches for his club Tawa, and representing his province Wellington on numerous occasions.
Still harbouring a love for the game, Chris gave back to his club and coached the colts team for two seasons. When invited by the premier coach, Chris Boyd – currently head coach of Northampton, to join him as an assistant it was a natural progression. That season the club made the grand final for the first time in its history. From that season on Chris’s focus was to make a career from full time rugby coaching. He left his job, relocated with family to the west coast of the South Island and commenced tertiary study in sport coaching at Massey University. During his time on the west coast Chris coached his club to 8 out of 9 possible trophies over three seasons with an impressive record 52 wins 1 draw and 1 loss from 54 matches. His time on the coast came to a conclusion with coaching the Buller provincial team to a semi-final in the National Championship. This had never been achieved before.
Relocating back to Wellington and working full time in player and coach development for the Wainuiomata Club, Chris put in place a plan for the rugby programme with a focus of the club regaining first division status. Wainuiomata had been languishing in the second division for 27 years. Promotion to the first division was achieved in the second year of the plan and brought much pride to the club and community.
An opportunity presented itself for Chris to return and work full time at his own club Tawa, while concurrently coaching the Wellington Colts and Wellington Development teams – feeders to the Wellington Lions.
It was while working for both Tawa and Wellington rugby that Chris was approached by Dicky Evans and asked to visit the Cornish Pirates as a consultant, reporting back on the effectiveness of the rugby programme. It resulted in Chris being offered a 3 year contract commencing in the 2009/10 inaugural RFU Championship season. The club finished 6th in the league but managed to be the first club to win the British and Irish Cup, beating Munster in the final.
The 2010/11 season was one to remember with the club making the Championship final against Worcester Warriors and pushing them all the way in the two legs. The 2011/12 season saw the club once again make the Championship final unfortunately losing to London Welsh and with the chance of a stadium being built hitting barriers, Chris returned to New Zealand.
Aaron’s earliest memory was running around in his bare feet playing rugby for Napier Marist in the Hawkes Bay. Having played rugby since the age of four, his passion for the game has provided him with a vast knowledge of the sport alongside experience across many levels both here in New Zealand and overseas. Just as importantly he understands the fun, lifelong friendships and life skills that rugby has to offer. He has a passion for the community game especially in supporting and developing coaches and players to not only be better in their sport but also to grow as people.
An experienced, licensed World Rugby/New Zealand Rugby Coach Educator, Aaron is also an accredited Level Three Rugby Coach, which has provided him with the formal globally recognised qualifications to compliment his game knowledge. His experience stretches over 25 years of coaching and educating, working with people of all levels from the community game to the top echelons of the sport (including internationals and professional athletes and coaches). He has operated in a diversity of cultures and communities in both the male and female space.
In 2014 an opportunity back in New Zealand with Canterbury RFU and Crusaders Rugby saw Jones locate to Christchurch as a Coach Educator and later Head of Coach Development with the prestigious organisation. Also, while at Canterbury an opportunity to be involved in a school and club program in Sri Lanka as an advisor and resource coach was highly rewarding.
“The work ethic, passion and investment they put into rugby in their country is phenomenal and it was an amazing experience to be a part of.” Jones said.
In addition of his overseas coaching and playing roles, Aaron’s other experiences have seen him coaching at School 1st XV level, Provincial Women with the Wellington Pride in the Farah Palmer Cup and Sevens with Canterbury as well as a skills coach for the Black Ferns high-performance program.
“Chris and his team have the knowledge and ability to introduce and coordinate rugby programmes which suit all levels – from community, through a development pathway to talent I.D. and senior Academy performance which then links with the Professional Game.
It is the requirements needed at each stage that he understands so well.
Most of all people enjoy his approach, his genuine desire to develop the player, both boy and girl, and support and encourage that development from the earliest stages to adult rugby. Crucially along with that is the excellent support and development he provides for coaches to create and deliver successful outcomes.”
Sir Ian McGeechan OBE
British & Irish Lions