While Welsh preparations for the Rugby World Cup later this year continue, there is one person within the Ospreys organisation guaranteed his place on the plane to New Zealand.
Rev. Steve Jones, sports chaplain to the Eyasses and their families for the last three years, has been chosen by the Major Event Chaplaincy Commission to serve at the tournament, one of just three British Chaplains selected for the competition.
Selected by SCORE, the UK Sports Chaplaincy Charity, Steve along with chaplain colleagues from Glasgow Warriors and London Wasps will provide pastoral and spiritual support to teams and administrators at the tournament.
Previous experience of such major event chaplaincy has seen him act as chaplain to the French U20s squad at the IRB Junior World Cup that was hosted in Wales.
Commenting on his selection to go to New Zealand, Steve said:
“My chaplaincy duties with the Ospreys age-grade teams involve supporting the Young Ospreys and their families with off-field issues, particularly in times of difficulty and crisis. Event Chaplaincy to elite national squads brings a different dimension and a broader experience. I am looking forward to the challenge of serving the international rugby community in this way.”
Steve, minister of Ainon Baptist Church in Neath a growing church attended by many families, is taking sabbatical leave from his church duties in order to serve at the Rugby World Cup. He added:
“The Church family have been very supportive of this side of my calling and are fully behind me in this. There is a large number of Ospreys and Wales fans, young and old, in the congregation.
“The immediate challenge for me now is to raise the funds to be able to make the trip. Sports Chaplaincy operates purely on a voluntary basis with no remuneration involved.”
Ospreys Chief Operations Officer, Andrew Hore, said that Steve’s selection was an honour for the region:
“We are delighted and honoured for Steve that he has been selected to serve at the Rugby World Cup. We take the holistic welfare and development of our players very seriously, particularly in the case of youngsters who may need some help and guidance to deal with difficulties they may be facing in their day-to-day life.
“The work that Steve does for the Ospreys is extremely important, and he is playing a big part in helping to shape the future of the region. This selection is well deserved recognition of both the work he does for the Ospreys, and also, the importance of the holistic welfare of rugby players of all ages and backgrounds.”
On Sunday 5th June Steve will be doing a 15 mile sponsored walk from the Ospreys base at the Llandarcy Academy of Sport, visiting a number of the rugby clubs in Ospreylia.
Anyone interested in sponsoring him should visit his sponsorship page at http://www.justgiving.com/steven-jones6
Alternatively, you can support his fundraising effort by buying a ticket to a joint concert of the Ospreys Supporters’ Choir and the Bryncoch Male Voice Choir ( with whom Steve sings as a tenor), that will take place at Bryncoch Community Centre, Main Road, Bryncoch on Wednesday 29th June, at 7pm.
A number of Ospreys players will attend, and there will be an auction of Ospreys items at the end of the concert to further the fundraising cause. Tickets can be obtained from the Cafeteria at Llandarcy Academy or from Steve himself on (07743) 947605.