Rugby

Jones 'completely unavailable' to coach Lions

2016-06-20 10:04
Eddie Jones (Getty)

Sydney - Victorious England chief Eddie Jones said on Monday he was "completely unavailable" to coach the British and Irish Lions next year on their tour of New Zealand.

Fresh from the Six Nations champions series-clinching 23-7 win over the Wallabies in Melbourne there have been renewed calls for him to become the first Australian to take charge of the Lions.

But Jones, the first foreigner to coach England, emphatically ruled out being at the helm against the All Blacks.

"I signed a four-year contract to make England the best team in the world and I'm going to spend every minute I have doing that," he told reporters after England secured an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the best-of-three series against Australia.

"If I took the Lions job I'd have to spend anything from six to 12 months not doing that."

Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie said he had advised the Lions' committee that Jones would be concentrating on England.

"Eddie does not want to do it and we want him to stay to coach England," Ritchie told reporters following the Melbourne Test.

"Both us of feel that, between now and 2019, Eddie's focus is on the World Cup and nothing will change that."

Jones said he believed England would be represented by "at least" 15 players when the Lions select their squad next year for a series that clashes with England's scheduled tour of Argentina in June.

"I'd be hopeful of missing at least 15," he said. "If we can get 15 in the Lions squad we'll have had a good Six Nations and good November Tests."

Jones added that he expected team changes as England go after a 3-0 series clean-sweep against Australia in Sydney on Saturday, with open side flank James Haskell struggling with a sore foot and wing Jack Nowell undergoing concussion protocols.

"There'll be a few changes," he said.

"When I looked at the team on Saturday there were some guys there with only 80 minutes in them. They've been up since June last year and some are starting to show some signs of battle weariness."

Read more on:    eddie jones  |  rugby
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