London - One of Britain's biggest bookmakers has suspended its market on the next coach of the England rugby union team after witnessing a flood of money for Eddie Jones.
William Hill said Tuesday that the odds on Jones replacing Stuart Lancaster, who stood down last week after England became the worst-performing host nation at a World Cup by crashing out in the group stage, had dropped from 6/1 to 11/10 in the space of 48 hours.
"The gamble suggests that at the very least Eddie Jones is on a shortlist and an announcement could be imminent," said Hills spokesman Rupert Adams.
Former Australia and Japan boss Jones fulfils the criteria of a coach of "proven international experience" which Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of England's governing Rugby Football Union, said would guide his search for a successor to Lancaster.
Jones was in charge of his native Australia when they lost the 2003 World Cup final to England in Sydney and four years later was a member of South Africa's backroom staff when they became world champions.
This year saw Jones oversee Japan's impressive performance at the World Cup, with their shock win over South Africa the biggest upset in the tournament's history.
However, Jones took up a new role as head coach of the South Africa Super Rugby side the Stormers in Cape Town last week.
Already linked to the England job, Jones answered suggestions he might replace Lancaster by telling a news conference: "I'm committed to the Stormers, mate. I woke up this morning and looked at the (Table) Mountain, so I'm here."
But with Ritchie making it clear that money is no object, there has been speculation the RFU could buy Jones out of his Stormers contract.
Several high-profile names have ruled themselves out of the England role, with Australia coach Michael Cheika, who said he already had his "dream job", the latest on Monday as he joined a list that also includes New Zealanders Warren Gatland and Joe Schmidt, the coaches of Wales and Ireland respectively.
Meanwhile Gatland and Schmidt's compatriot Wayne Smith, a member of the All Blacks' backroom staff when they beat Cheika's Wallabies in last month's World Cup final at Twickenham, has made it equally clear he has no interest in replacing Lancaster by saying he intends to take a break from all coaching next year.
The only leading figure to say he would like to be England coach is South Africa's Jake White, the Springboks' boss when they won the 2007 World Cup.
Tuesday's edition of The Times reported that White, now the coach of French club Montpellier, had "met with senior RFU figures" last weekend.
But given White was in London because Montpellier were playing Harlequins in the European Challenge Cup at the Stoop, which is close to the RFU's Twickenham headquarters, it would have been more surprising had someone from the England hierarchy not taken the chance to contact him.