It’s been just over a week since Stuart Lancaster left his role as England’s head coach. After assessing a number of potential candidates – a list that reportedly included both Michael Cheika and Jake White – it now seems that the RFU have begun contract negotiations with Eddie Jones. Many are stating that the appointment will be made by the end of the week.
Eddie Jones is a man who seems to fit all the prerequisites demanded by the England hierarchy when they began their search. He’s a coach of the highest level with a proven track record in international coaching — he has coached both the Australian and Japanese teams – plus he was also involved in South Africa’s World Cup win in 2007, albeit in an advisory role. This previous experience should stand him in good stead for coaching the England team.
The only possible stumbling block is the fact that Jones has only just taken up a coaching role with South African team the Stormers. They have stated that he has a “long-term contract” with them, and they are unlikely to want him to leave. It is unlikely that they’ll be able to stop him taking the England head coach job though.
Jones was most recently seen during the 2015 World Cup – during which he masterminded Japan’s amazing win over South Africa – and throughout his time in the sidelines he had forwards coach Steve Borthwick by his side. Now Borthwick’s club side, Bristol, are bracing themselves for an approach from the RFU, as Jones will almost certainly want to work with him again.
When Jones does take charge of the England team, he’ll have a lot of work to do. He’ll have to harmonise a squad that seemingly couldn’t play effectively with each other during the World Cup, and he’ll also have to manage the expectations of the many England fans out there. It remains to see how many changes he’ll make though – although he’ll undoubtedly have to make quite a few.
In other rugby union news, the All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has announced his retirement from the game. Regarded as one of the best players of all time, he won a world-record 148 caps for his country, and won two World Cups with New Zealand. This news comes just a day after the world of rugby was rocked by the news of the sad death of New Zealand legend Jonah Lomu.