Cape Town - UK bookmakers have stopped taking bets on newly appointed Stormers coach Eddie Jones replacing fired Stuart Lancaster as supremo of the England rugby team. They are so convinced Jones will leave Newlands for Twickenham that betting on him doing so has been suspended.
But the Australian who guided Japan to rugby’s great giant killing act over the Springboks won’t come cheap. In the Times of London this morning, SA billionaire Johann Rupert says extracting Jones from his contract with the Stormers will cost the English RFU R15m (£700 000).
Richemont chairman Rupert, co-owner of the Stormers through the 25% owned by one of his businesses, told the newspaper: "We have no influence" and confirmed the Cape-based franchise would not engage in a bidding war over the recently hired head coach.
In September, Jones signed a R5m a year deal with the Stormers which runs until the end of 2018. That made him the highest paid coach in South African rugby, ahead of Heyneke Meyer who guided the Springboks to third in the recent World Cup.
The Times also quotes Stormers director of rugby Gert Smal who says as yet there has been no official offer from England to Jones.
"I don’t know if they approached him," the newspaper reports.
"When I get something in my hands and I know a little more, I’ll do the right thing."
England’s apparent determination to hire Jones pushes his boss during Springboks’ 2007 World Cup victory, Jake White, into second choice. Jones had previously said he was happy to have woken up with a view of Table Mountain and was committed to the Stormers.
White (52) coaches French club Montpelier and told Sky Sports: "It’s one of the sought-after jobs in world rugby. A sleeping giant as England are, they’ve got all the resources, the history, the tradition. If the RFU were genuine about picking a foreign coach and considered me the right man for the job, it would be naïve of me to tell you I wasn’t interested."
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