Friday 19 October 2018

England boss Eddie Jones handed two-year contract extension ahead of Six Nations

England head coach Eddie Jones. Photo: PA
England head coach Eddie Jones. Photo: PA

Duncan Bech

England have extended Eddie Jones' reign as head coach by a further two years as part of their succession planning for his eventual replacement.

Jones will remain at the helm until 2021 as reward for his success in overseeing a run of 22 wins from 23 Tests, a sequence that includes consecutive NatWest 6 Nations titles.

The Australian was due to step down after the 2019 World Cup but will now work alongside his eventual successor, who the Rugby Football Union hope to appoint by 2020, until his departure.

The terms of the contract include a break clause based on performance at the global showpiece in Japan, enabling the Rugby Football Union to sever ties should a similar scenario to three years ago unfold when England endured a harrowing group exit.

"Coaching England is a dream job for me and I was delighted to be asked to stay on after Rugby World Cup 2019," Jones said.

"I have been completely focussed on developing a team capable of being the number one rugby team in the world and winning the World Cup in 2019. I never take my role as England head coach for granted and did not presume I would be asked to stay on but, once the conversations started very recently, it was not a difficult decision to make.

"These are exciting times for English rugby, with a focussed and committed squad who are full of potential and determined to win. I will continue to work as hard as I can to make England the world's best rugby team."

RFU officials have learned from the bitter disappointment of the last World Cup to ensure they are not saddled with any costly severance packages arising from sacking a coaching team.

Stuart Lancaster and his assistants Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree were awarded new deals in the build-up to England 2015 only to be jettisoned for the failure to progress from the group phase.

Consequently, Twickenham will now be able to swiftly part company with Jones should the need arise.

RFU chief executive Steve Brown praised Jones' success to date and outlined his belief that by lengthening his tenure, a painless transition will ensue.

"Eddie's results as England head coach speak for themselves," Brown said.

"Under Eddie's leadership, we have risen from eight to second in the world - and Eddie won't be satisfied until we are number one.

"He has a 95 per cent win rate at the helm and has been a galvanizing force for the RFU, bringing focus, clarity and extraordinary commitment to the role.

"We now have a robust succession planning process in place which will avoid the historically disruptive pattern of resetting the coaching team and performance system every four years.

"Eddie will be a big part of this process, and wants to ensure a smooth handover to his successor."

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