A look at Canada’s coaching brain trust under Kingsley Jones at Rugby World Cup

A look at Canada’s coaching brain trust under Kingsley Jones at Rugby World Cup

After more than a quarter-century in rugby and a resume that has taken him from his native Wales to Russia, Canada coach Kingsley Jones has assembled an impressive Rolodex.

Jones, 50, has used that network to assemble an all-star coaching staff at the Rugby World Cup. All are on temporary duty with Canada at the tournament, with Jones mining his contacts while helping Rugby Canada’s budget.

Canada opens World Cup play Thursday against Italy.

Here is a look at the Canadian brain trust in Japan:

Sir Graham Henry (special adviser)

There isn’t much the 73-year-old Kiwi hasn’t won, from Super Rugby championships with the Auckland Blues in 1996 and ‘97 to the World Cup in 2011 with the All Blacks.

Henry coached the All Blacks to 88 wins in 103 test matches for a winning percentage of 85.4 per cent. He also led Wales and the British and Irish Lions.

Henry, a friend of Jones’s father back in the day, was named World Rugby’s coach of the year in 2005, ‘06, ‘08, ‘10 and ‘11. More recently he has advised Argentina and Irish club side Leinster.

After Henry took over as Wales coach in 1998, he made Jones his captain before a ruptured Achilles sidelined the forward.

“He wrote me a letter telling me after I finish playing I should take up coaching. In his words, ‘I think you’ll be a good one,”’ Jones recalled. “I kept that letter. It meant a lot to me. I often remind him about that. And he’s always been a help to me.”

Henry was in Vancouver in May and had lunch with Jones, who asked him to come on board for the tournament. Jones then spent some time with Henry in Auckland to discuss the Canadian campaign.

“He wants to give back to the game. He loves Canada. He’s always had respect for Canadian rugby,” said Jones.

Richard Wigglesworth (defence coach)

An accomplished international scrum half, Wigglesworth started as a 20-year-old in the Sale Sharks academy under Jones. By the time Jones moved on, Wigglesworth was starting for the Sharks.

“An incredible leader,” Jones recalled. “Almost like part of the coaching staff as young kid. Always setting standards.”

Since moving to Saracens in 2010, Wigglesworth has made more than 200 appearances and won five Premiership titles and three European Cups. On the international front, he has earned 31 caps for England and gone to two World Cups. Still with Saracens, he moonlights as attack coach for the Championship side Ealing Trailfinders.

An injury took the 36-year-old out of the running for the England rugby team in Japan.

“England’s loss was our gain,” said Jones.

Gruff Rees (attack coach)

Rees, whose first name is pronounced Griff, has ties to Canadian captain Tyler Ardron and wing Jeff Hassler from his time as a coach with the Ospreys in his native Wales. He also worked with top Welsh talent like Dan Biggar, James Hook and Rhys Webb.

“Massive experience,” said Jones.

“I’ve always had respect for the way he coached, the way he managed himself,” he added.

Rees’ current role is Cardiff Blues’ academy manager.

Boris Stankovich (set piece coach)

The New Zealand-born Stankovich played prop for Albi in France and Bath, London Irish, Coventry and Leicester Tigers in England as well as Newport Gwent Dragons in Wales in a playing career that stretched from 1999 to 2016.

He spent seven years with Leicester, captaining the team in 2011.

Jones, during his time with the Russian national team, initially looked at Stankovich in the hope he might have Russian bloodlines. He didn’t but the six-foot-one, 250-pounder went on to play two seasons under Jones at Newport.

“He was a standout player for us, an experienced player, but also led the scrum for me,” Jones said.

After retiring, the 39-year-old Stankovich went on to become Leicester’s scrum coach. He is on leave from Leicester to join Canada at the tournament.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed eight additional virus-deaths Monday afternoon including one in central zone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
New record: Red Deer at 236 active COVID cases

One more death in central zone reported

Red Deer firefighters look for coloured tags on downtown fire hydrants to determine water pressure levels before connecting their hoses to fight blazes, such as this fire at a low-income housing complex last summer. (Advocate file photo.)
Tagged fire hydrants are some of the City of Red Deer’s new innovations

New ideas are being generated to improve services or save money: general-manager

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
‘Fake’ police officers demand money, Red Deer RCMP warn of scam

Red Deer RCMP are warning the public of a concerning incident where… Continue reading

The sit-down area of Red Deer's Tim Hortons at 3020 22nd St. was closed to the public on Monday because of an "evolving health situation." The drive-through was open and remained busy.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Red Deer Tim Hortons restaurant dining room closed due to “evolving health situation”

Drive-through at Tim Hortons in southeast Red Deer remained open

Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Community peace officers and RCMP ready to enforce new mask bylaw

Residents asked for co-operation obeying new rules

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

A farmer plows his field, Tuesday, May 5, 2020 in St. Benoit, Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Nutrien calls on fertilizer industry to support its agriculture climate change drive

Nutrien calls on fertilizer industry to support its agriculture climate change drive

Downtown Iqaluit, Nunavut, is shown after 2 p.m. sunset on November 24, 2020. The territory plans to start lifting a two-week lockdown due to COVID-19 spread on Wednesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Tranter
Nunavut to start lifting its two-week lockdown as COVID-19 cases recover

IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut is to start lifting a two-week lockdown on… Continue reading

Minister of International Trade Mary Ng participates in a news conference on the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement in Ottawa, on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Ng says she is unable to provide a guarantee to MPs that they will see a bill to ratify the new provisional Canada-Britain trade agreement before Parliament adjourns on Dec. 11.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
No text of Canada-U.K. trade deal, minister says as Dec. 31 tariff deadline looms

OTTAWA — Canada’s International Trade Minister Mary Ng says she can’t guarantee… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault responds to reporters during a news conference on Thursday, November 26, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. An association of Quebec booksellers says it acted in haste when it removed social media posts outlining Premier Francois Legault’s book recommendations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec booksellers’ group apologizes, republishes post outlining premier’s top reads

MONTREAL — An association of Quebec booksellers says it acted in haste… Continue reading

Regine Laurent, president of the Special Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection, arrives at a news conference to deliver a preliminary report in Montreal on Monday, November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Quebec urged to create national director of youth protection to oversee system

MONTREAL — A provincial commission looking into the protection of vulnerable children… Continue reading

Ontario Premier Doug Ford puts his mask back on during the daily briefing at Humber River Hospital in Toronto on Tuesday November 24, 2020. Ford says he wants a clear delivery date for the province’s share of COVID-19 vaccines, stressing that “the clock is ticking” when it comes to fighting the novel coronavirus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario premier pushes for clear delivery date for COVID-19 vaccines

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he wants a clear delivery date for… Continue reading

Janelle Robinson owns and operates Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. The Ranch, just north of Stettler, is an animal therapy ranch that helps those with special needs and conditions ranging from PTSD to anxiety. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

The Alberta government passed new, stricter COVID-19 measures across the province on Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Here’s a list of Alberta’s new COVID rules

The Alberta government has provided a list of new COVID-19 measures to… Continue reading

Most Read