Forty-eight hours after England’s World Cup dreams were demolished by the brute force of South Africa, speculation is growing that Eddie Jones could call time on his tensure as England coach.
The Australian was dazed in the immediate aftermath of the 32-12 hammering by the Springboks, and it could be that he feels after four years in charge he has taken the squad as far as he can. Furthermore, Australia are looking for a new coach and the possibility to take charge of the Wallabies once could be tough to resist for the patriotic Jones.
Bring back Jones
Several former Wallabies, including Tim Horan and Stephen Hoiles, have told Rugby Australia “to pull out all stops to bring him back to the helm”. Jones guided Australia to the 2003 World Cup final but his tenure ended in acrimony when he was sacked in 2005. But few faces remain from that era and it could be that Jones accepts the responsibility of coaching Australia again, this time building a squad that can challenge for the 2023 World Cup in France.
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Rugby Australia had been making eyes at Glasgow Warriors coach David Rennie, following the resignation of Michael Cheika last month, but the Australia media claim he has been “approached by New Zealand Rugby over the All Blacks coaching role”.
Not the time
Asked about his plans after Saturday’s defeat, Jones said: “It’s not the time to discuss it now. That’s for the future but for this team there’s no reason why they can’t keep developing.”
He won’t appreciate some of the criticism that has come his way since losing the final so emphatically, with Stephen Jones writing in The Sunday Times that he was “dead wrong” with some of his preparation: “It was a decent campaign, although by the standards that Jones set himself, it was not good enough,” he added.
However, one obstacle to a reunion with Australia may be money with the cash-strapped union in a parlous situation, which also applies to Fiji, who have also been linked to Jones. In words carried by The Times, RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said he was aware of overseas’ interest in Jones but he was confident that he would remain loyal. “Eddie’s one of the world’s best coaches — if not the best — despite the result against South Africa,” Sweeney said. “When you’re in that position, you’re going to have people sniffing around. One of the first priorities will be to sit down and have a chat... He’s done a fantastic job with this squad. He’s got an awful lot more to offer yet.”
Pummelled and pulverised, the post-mortem on England’s defeat
Clive Woodward in the Daily Mail: “There was clearly a cost to pay for the magnificent performance which we saw against New Zealand. Emotionally it took a toll. It’s incredibly difficult just a week later to dig even deeper and reach even higher.”
Owen Slot in The Times: “Rethink playing Daly at full back. And England need new No 9s and No 3s. However, this is not a team with personnel problems. It is a team that laid down two masterful performances and then lost their nerve at the last.”
Lawrence Dallaglio in The Sunday Times: “They didn’t manage to fire a shot in the defining 80 minutes. ..here were signs of nerves: silly errors in both thought and deed, people trying to force things, a real lack of composure. England just didn’t settle and it ended up costing them the match.”
Robert Kitson in The Guardian: “In the final analysis their campaign panned out almost exactly as might have been anticipated: spells of brilliance interspersed with a frustrating tendency to take their foot off the gas.”
Mick Cleary in The Daily Telegraph: “To the losers go befuddlement and desolation. England travelled along quite a spectrum in the space of a week, from certainty to doubt, from joy to despair. It is a journey that will stay with them throughout their careers.”
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