New England coach Eddie Jones happy not to pick overseas players

Australian, England’s first foreign head coach, tasked with reviving the national team after its World Cup disaster

The new England coach Eddie Jones with the Rugby Football Union chairman  Bill Beaumont (left) and chief executive Ian Ritchie at Twickenham.  Photograph: Reuters

The new England coach Eddie Jones with the Rugby Football Union chairman Bill Beaumont (left) and chief executive Ian Ritchie at Twickenham. Photograph: Reuters

 

SACHIN NAKRANI

Eddie Jones has insisted he is happy to adhere to the Rugby Football Union’s rule of only picking players who play in the Premiership for England now he has taken over as the national team’s head coach.

Speaking at a press conference at Twickenham having been confirmed as Stuart Lancaster’s successor on a four-year contract, the 55-year-old backtracked on his previous criticism of the rule, which has stopped the likes of Steffon Armitage and Nick Abendanon, of Toulon and Clermont Auvergne respectively, from representing their country.

Sitting alongside the RFU’s chief executive, Ian Ritchie, Jones also said he is keen on having English coaches as part of his backroom staff with the intention of one taking over from him when he leaves the England post, most likely after the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

“Sometimes you see things differently when you’re on the outside,” said Jones in regards to the RFU’s overseas rule. “I’ve had a good chat with Ian . . . I want players who want to play for England and if you want to play for England you have to play in the Premiership. I’m happy with that.”

Jones said he will meet with England’s current coaching staff, most notably Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt, after officially taking over England on December 1st and “assess” what contribution they can make to his regime. “If they can offer what I want, they’ll have the job,” said the Australian before expressing his desire to nurture domestic talent in his backroom staff. “One of the goal is to have assistant coaches who by 2019 are ready to takeover. I’m sure we can do that. There are good coaches in England”

Opportunity

Jones described taking over as England’s head coach as “too good an opportunity not to take,” and insisted there is enough talent in the current squad for the national team to bounce back from their disappointing showing at the recent, home World Cup, where they failed to get out of the group stages.

“At least 70 per cent [of the current squad] can go to the 2019 World Cup,” he said. “That’s a great legacy Lancaster has left.

“It’s quite clear from talking to Ian that the desire here is to build a winning team that has Twickenham buzzing, and we have to systematically make sure that over the next four years we bring through young players who are ready to play in the World Cup.”

Jones, who has previously managed Australia and, at the recent World Cup, Japan, as well as working as a technical director for South Africa when they won the World Cup in 2007, has joined England having taken over at Stormers in September.

The RFU are expected to pay the Cape Town-based club a six-figure sum as compensation for snatching their coach.

“Eddie fits the bill for what we were looking for in a coach and we’re delighted to have him here,” said Ritchie. “I know we’re going to work well together for the next few years.”

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