Monday 19 August 2019

Eddie Jones to be confirmed as England head coach in next 24 hours

Eddie Jones refused to use the short turnaround between matches as an excuse for his team's loss
Eddie Jones refused to use the short turnaround between matches as an excuse for his team's loss

Gavin Mairs

Eddie Jones is expected to be confirmed as the next England head coach within the next 24 hours after he arrived in London today to finalise details of his contract with Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie.

Jones is understood to have flown to Heathrow from Cape Town last night after negotiations with the RFU reached an advanced stage. Telegraph Sport understands that the RFU have already reached an agreement with the Stormers to secure the services of Jones, who is only in the first week of a three-year contract with the South African Super Rugby club.

 Ritchie first made contact with the 55 year-old last weekend and told him he was the governing body’s top target to replace Stuart Lancaster but the process is understood to have have progressed rapidly.

Jones is currently paid just over £235,000 but it is understood there is a break clause in his contract and the RFU are thought to have paid considerably less than the figure of £700,000 that the Stormers had initially demanded. The figure is thought to be closer to £100,000.

It is understood The Stormers are likely to hold a press conference on Friday to confirm Jones’ departure, with John Mitchell, the former All Blacks coach and England assistant coach during Sir Clive Woodwards’s tenure, set to replace him.

Ritchie is thought to be keen to make the appointment of the head coach first before Jones will then have his say on the make-up of his coaching team, with former England captain Steve Borthwick, who has just taken up a post at Bristol, likely to be involved.

Jones is also likely to look at Alex Sanderson and Paul Gustard, two highly-rated coaches at his former club Saracens.

 The RFU are also poised to create a new position of director of rugby, with Montpellier head coach Jake White, who guided the Springboks to their 2007 World Cup triumph, expected to be appointed.

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The speed of the negotiations has been remarkable and should ensure that Jones is in charge in time to announce the next England elite player squad in January in time for the start of the Six Nations.

It is understood that Ritchie has taken significant counsel in his bid to recruit a successor for Lancaster, who departed last week, but the chief executive alone was the man who has convinced Jones to charge of England to the next World Cup in Japan in 2019.

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