The Ospreys today announced that coach Lyn Jones is to depart the Ospreys by mutual agreement. Lyn, who has coached the Ospreys since its inception in 2003, is said to be welcoming a new challenge after a season that saw Welsh region enjoy EDF Energy Cup.
Speaking today, Ospreys managing director Roger Blyth said:
"Lyn has done an outstanding job in his time as Ospreys Head Coach and, without doubt, has been the most successful coach in Wales since the onset of regional rugby. He successfully led us through our challenging formative seasons, taking on probably one of the hardest jobs in UK rugby by successful combining the rugby playing cultures of Neath and Swansea into a new dynamic. He developed the squad into winners of the Celtic League in 2005 and 2007, and this season led the region into the European Cup quarter-finals as well as winning the EDF Energy Cup, while contributing 14 players to the Wales squad.
Having achieved so much, we whole-heartedly understand Lyn's desire to leave on a high and seek a new challenge in the next phase of, what I have no doubt, will remain an outstanding career coaching rugby football. The entire region owes Lyn a debt of gratitude for the work he has done for the Ospreys and our warmest wishes will go with him for whatever new coaching challenge he ultimately decides to undertake."
Lyn Jones commented:
"The last 10 years have been a tremendous time for me personally and professionally, both at Neath RFC and subsequently, at the Ospreys.
We've come a very long way since the summer of 2003 when Neath and Swansea came together to form the Ospreys, and I take great satisfaction in our many achievements over the past five years. The region now stands as one of the leading sides in European rugby and that is something that I know everybody involved at the Ospreys is proud of.
Having achieved the success, I feel its now time to get my teeth into a new challenge and look for fresh horizons. Equally, I believe with my job firmly done at the Ospreys it is the best time for a new hand to come in and move the Ospreys to its next level of development. As someone born and bred in the area, this has been a very tough decision to make, but parting on a positive note after a successful season that saw the Ospreys become the first Welsh side to win the EDF Energy Cup is the best ending to a very enjoyable time."
The Ospreys have already begun the task of searching for a new head coach to replace Lyn Jones, and Andrew Hore, the region's Elite Performance Director, will be instrumental in guiding the search.
Hore, who arrived at the Ospreys in March, has spent the last two months carrying out a head to toe review of the region and the structures currently in place and has already begun reporting back his initial findings with a view to putting in place a management team that will be the envy of the rugby world.
While the recruitment process, which is likely to take much of the close season, is underway, assistant coach Sean Holley and forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys will continue under Andrew Hore's guidance.
Roger Blyth commented:
"Our challenge is now to recruit a coach of worldwide calibre, capable of picking up the reigns from Lyn to drive the region forward and accelerate our development. Our focus will be on an individual of outstanding ability, professionalism, leadership and innovation with the capability of taking the squad on to the next level. We want the right man for the job and we are prepared to look hard and fight hard to get him.
We are also crystal clear that our new coach will need to feed in to the national strategy and work with Warren Gatland and his team to deliver, in tandem, the sort of developments at regional rugby level that we have seen with the national squad.
We have very definite ideas of the type of person that we are looking for and won't rush into making a decision just to fill the gap. Any candidate will have to share our rugby philosophies as well as our ambitions to establish the Ospreys amongst Europe's elite clubs. This is a crucial appointment for the future of the Ospreys, and we need to make sure that we get it right in order to build on the success of the last five years. It is a decision that will take time and careful consideration, a process that will ensure we appoint the right man for the job."