James Jones, the head of match officials at Wales Rugby League, has decided to concentrate purely on Wales from now on after retiring from the English professional game.
The last match he officiated for the Rugby Football League was justly in Wales, as he took to the middle for the Challenge Cup first round clash between South Wales Jets and Stanningley at Ebbw Vale.
During his rugby league career, Jones was a match official in Super League, and became a dual-code international referee taking charges of matches like Scotland v Jamaica men and England v France women.
Jones will continue as head of match officials in Wales and will increase his work in overseeing our domestic competition and referee development. He will be working closely with the Rugby Football League to create a pathway for other officials to follow right up to Super League level and with European Rugby League to develop international match officials.
Speaking about the changes he’s making, Jones said: “I have been honoured and privileged to represent the Rugby Football League for over 12 years. It has been a great journey and career and I have made so many memories along with making good lifelong friends.
“Officiating at Super League and international level was a dream and after grit and determination, I am proud to have made it a reality.
“But the time has come to realise that, whilst the tireless journeys north every weekend have been exciting and enjoyable, now is the time after a lot of reflection to step down and spend time with the family.
“Becoming Wales Rugby League’s first International referee and the world’s first dual code international referee was the pinnacle. Having my late pap present me my cap will live with me forever. Most importantly, I’m sure that I made my mam and biggest supporter my late pap proud. Seeing my name in the WRL hall of fame of codebreakers with so many legends who I look up to is something beyond my wildest dreams.
“Furthermore, sharing the field with my son as my touch judge for a junior international singing the Welsh National Anthem is something I will honour and cherish thanks to Wales Rugby League. I hope I have done WRL and my country proud on my journey.
“It’s onwards and upwards now. I’ll continue to referee at community level in Wales and I’ll have my cards ready, and I look forward to developing a new generation of match officials in Wales.”
If you would like to become a rugby league referee, then email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details and he’ll be in touch.