England role unlikely for Warren Gatland due to wait and see policy

Eddie Jones is contracted until 2021 but has publicly hinted he will leave post World Cup

 England risk missing out on the chance to recruit Warren Gatland as their head coach after the Rugby Football Union revealed Eddie Jones’ successor would not be appointed until after the World Cup. Photograph: PA

England risk missing out on the chance to recruit Warren Gatland as their head coach after the Rugby Football Union revealed Eddie Jones’ successor would not be appointed until after the World Cup. Photograph: PA

 

The English Rugby Football Union is ready to risk missing out on Warren Gatland as England’s next head coach because it insists on hedging its bets over Eddie Jones’s successor and will not make an appointment until after the World Cup.

Jones is contracted with the RFU until 2021 but has publicly hinted he will leave after this year’s tournament in Japan. There is also a break clause in his contract if England do not reach the semi-finals and this week he refused to rule out returning to his native Australia to coach the Wallabies.

The RFU is planning for both eventualities, drawing up two lists of potential candidates to either replace Jones at the end of the year or be appointed in the summer of 2020 and work under him for a year. While the RFU deliberates, however, Gatland long ago confirmed he will leave the Wales job after the World Cup and, according to reports in France, he is on a shortlist to take charge of les bleus after the tournament in Japan.

The RFU’s position is further complicated because the incoming chief executive, Bill Sweeney, who will want to have a say in the identity of Jones’s successor, still does not have a start date.

Gatland recently joked the RFU could not afford him but after guiding Wales to a third Six Nations grand slam in his tenure this month he is the outstanding candidate. He could, however, be signed up for a third stint as the head coach of the British and Irish Lions before England are willing to act.

But the interim RFU chief executive, Nigel Melville, said: “There are more than one or two coaches in the world. We are looking at more than one or two coaches. Is Warren going to do the Lions? Is Warren going to France? Is Warren coming to England? Is Warren doing all sorts? At this point that is not a concern to me. We aren’t at the moment talking to one of those [BIG-HITTING]coaches. Post-World Cup we will decide what is happening in terms of Eddie.”

Guardian services

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.