03 Mar 2021

The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) today announced that former national coach, coach education manager, and current General Manager of Rugby Performance, Leigh Jones, will depart to take up the role of General Manager of Rugby with Leicester Tigers.


Jones has been with the HKRU since 2010, although he previously left to join the Japan national team coaching setup in 2014, where alongside then coach Eddie Jones and assistant coach Steve Borthwick he helped mastermind one of the game’s biggest upsets with Japan upending South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.


Following his stint with Japan, Jones returned to administer the HKRU’s high performance programmes including overseeing the formation of the Hong Kong Rugby Union’s Elite Rugby Programme, and sharing his coaching expertise with Hong Kong’s numerous locally qualified rugby coaches.


The former Wales, Wales A, and Newport Gwent Dragons coach has been instrumental in Hong Kong’s steady rise to its current position inside the top 24 world rankings for men - second ranked in Asia behind Japan and defending Asia Rugby Champions - whilst the women’s national team are still in the fight to secure a slot at their second consecutive Rugby World Cup this year in New Zealand.


Andrew Hall, who succeeded Jones as Hong Kong coach in 2018, will continue to lead the team in the upcoming Asia Rugby Championship in June.


“I am extremely grateful for my time with the Hong Kong Rugby Union and have consistently expressed my belief that the HKRU does a great job in looking after staff, and provides opportunities for young coaches and administrators that could not be found anywhere else in the world.

“I firmly believe that the Hong Kong Rugby Union has, and will continue to be, one of the best development Unions in world rugby and would recommend the Hong Kong Rugby experience to any aspiring rugby professionals. 

“From a personal perspective, the opportunity to assume the General Manager role with an organization like Leicester Tigers does not come along often, and was one that I could not turn down. 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 Union at this time.

“I have been focused on the administrative side of the Union’s set-up in recent years and I am confident that the platform we have set will help ensure continued success. With excellent coaches like Andy Hall and Craig Hammond, the national team is in safe hands and the transition required by players will be minimal,” Jones added.

“Leigh has been a constant presence at the Hong Kong Rugby Union, helping instil the highest standards both within our high performance set-up and across our organization. With his decades of experience, it is no surprise that Leigh ranked high on the wish lists of numerous organizations. He will be sorely missed and we wish him the very best in his future endeavours,” said Robbie McRobbie, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Rugby Union.


Jones will depart Hong Kong for Leicester in May 2021.