Jones, who earned three Six Nations Grand Slams with Wales and was a British & Irish Lions Test starter during his playing career, transitioned from the playing field to the Boardroom five years ago.
During his stint on the WRU’s Executive Board Jones held two positions that encompass the breadth of the game in Wales, initially as Director of Community Rugby before moving into his performance role.
Sticking by his belief that there is a ‘jersey for all’, Jones has consistently championed diversity in the community game and balanced the needs of the traditional game with new formats that broaden the appeal of the sport and greatly increase access to rugby for all.
As Performance Director this commitment to inclusivity continued with the reinvigoration of the Wales Women’s programme. Jones has also sat on the Rugby Management Board and Professional Rugby Board as well as representing the WRU on the Board of GB 7s.
“It has been a privilege to work for the WRU,” said Jones.
“It has really been a twenty-year journey when you include my time as a player. Looking back what I didn’t appreciate when playing was just how much work goes on behind the scenes at the WRU. I firmly believe rugby is the ultimate team game but there are people at the Union who epitomise the saying ‘character is what you do when no one is watching’, a true high-performance behaviour.
“With a number of performance programmes paused due to the impact of Covid-19 on rugby, now feels the right time to put my efforts into new opportunities. I am immensely proud of my contribution to Welsh rugby and what our dedicated teams have delivered during my time. Having worked across the whole of Welsh rugby for the last five years I know what we have is special and I would like to wish everyone involved in our game inside and outside of Wales, whether it be in the boardroom on the touchline or on the pitch, every success in the future.”
WRU chief executive Steve Phillips said:
“Ryan the ‘suit’ has been very much like Ryan the player. His energy, effort and enthusiasm are always evident and without doubt he has helped change the culture at the WRU. His focus on making our sport accessible for everyone has permeated the organisation.
“He will be missed and we wish him well. I have no doubt he will be as successful in whatever he does next as he was on and off the field in Welsh rugby.”
With many elite programs on hold for the foreseeable future and in the current, unique circumstances there are no immediate plans to recruit a direct replacement for Jones.
A review is taking place to allocate active workstreams amongst existing executive board staff and existing coaching teams.