Rugby

Jones in line for England job

2011-11-17 08:06
Eddie Jones (File)

London - Former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones on Thursday became the latest big name to jostle for position as England seek a new rugby coach after Martin Johnson stepped down.

Johnson quit on Wednesday amid a series of Rugby Football Union (RFU) reviews into its own governance and England's dismal Rugby World Cup campaign in New Zealand.

Their tournament ended in a quarter-final defeat to France and was characterised by ill-discipline both on and off the pitch throughout.

Still effectively rudderless at boardroom level - and now without a national team coach - England will want to move decisively to put its house in order before hosting the next World Cup in 2015.

A number of big names have been mentioned in regard to the coach's position and Jones on Thursday joined the throng.

"You'd always be interested in coaching England," he told BBC radio, adding that the rewards of getting the team back on track would be enormous.

"It has got a fantastic domestic competition, very, very good players and you have just got to get the right programme in place and they should be good enough to win the next World Cup."

Jones coached the Australian team beaten by England in the 2003 World Cup final, but tasted success in 2007 as a consultant to the victorious South African team.

"Over the last period of time, England rugby has lost its way and you'd have to question the people in place now," Jones said.

"That is the challenge of getting it right. If you get it right, the benefits are absolutely enormous. That is the challenge of it and that is the exciting part of it."

Jones's comments came shortly after England-born South African Nick Mallett ruled himself out of the running.

The former Italy and South Africa coach also has excellent credentials but said he would not be interested due to concerns for his family's wellbeing.

New Zealand's World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry is among bookmakers' favourites for the role, after resigning from the All Blacks earlier this month after eight years in charge.

However the 65-year-old is still under contract with the NZRU until March and has been touted for a mentoring role with the governing body of the sport in his home country.

Insiders' favourite for the job is Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder. The former fullback coached England's second-string Saxons between 2006 and 2007, winning 15 of his 16 matches in charge.

Mallinder earlier this month put himself in the frame.

"Every player should aspire to play for his country and I think that's the same for coaches too -- aspire to be the best you can," he said.

"If one day, I ever have that honour, it would be something that would be very difficult to turn down."

Other names in the ring include 2003 World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward, though he would appear a long-shot and seems settled in his role as Director of Elite Performance at the British Olympic Association.

Former Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan stepped down from his post as US rugby coach on the same day as Johnson quit England, saying he wanted to return to Europe to resume his coaching career.

He appears a long shot at this stage, and bookmakers consider fellow Irishman Conor O'Shea, Director of Rugby at Harlequins, a better bet.

Former All Blacks wing and Japan coach John Kirwan is fancied by bookies as third favourite, with South Africa's 2007 World Cup winning coach Jake White, who was named in April as coach for Australia's Super rugby side the Brumbies on a four-year contract, further back.

White, however, has also already said he would love to coach the Springboks again but ruled out a return to South Africa in the near future, suggesting a move to England is an even longer shot.


Read more on:    eddie jones
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