Wednesday 13 November 2019

Jones: If call comes for me to be sacked, then so be it

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

Mick Cleary

Eddie Jones does not fear the sack despite admitting he would expect his job to be on the line if his below-strength team were to have a disastrous campaign in next month's international series. The Australian stated that the four Tests were essentially "sparring, practice rounds" ahead of the real business of winning the Rugby World Cup in Japan in a year's time.

"We don't need to win any of them," said Jones. "If we don't win any, I'm probably not going to be here, so we (do) need to win a few. If they (the Rugby Football Union) come and tap me on the shoulder tomorrow and told me I wasn't in the job, then so be it."

Jones has lost 320 caps from his front-line squad, forcing him to select eight uncapped players in the 36-man squad that heads into camp in Portugal next Wednesday to prepare for the opening fixture against South Africa at Twickenham on November 3.

Yet Jones insists that he is under no more pressure than normal, even though England have won only one of their last six Test matches, declaring that defeat in the games against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia would not be a terminal jolt to World Cup hopes.


"My job is to maximise what I have. What I've learned about World Cups is that the only time you need to be at your best is at the World Cup. All the leading up to it is sparring, practice rounds, getting combinations right.

"So as long as we've got in our head that we know what the team is - and we do - then we'll be all right.

"When I took the job on I knew the situation, knew what the challenges were, knew how it was going to play out. This is not new territory.

"Look at the 2007 South African World Cup (winning) team. In 2006 they're getting pumped every game, - (head coach) Jake White gets told he's going to be sacked, is called home and he's like the schoolboy outside the principal's office. A certain bloke with a lot of money sends a fax to the SARU offices saying 'you sack him and you lose all your sponsorship', so Jake gets a reprieve.

"In the 2007 Tri Nations, how many did they win? One of the first four. They go to the World Cup (with Jones hired as technical adviser) and what happens? They beat England 36-0 in their first game. They didn't look back.

"We've got a team to win the World Cup. Of course we want to win every game but the reality is that sometimes you don't. What's important is that you keep moving forward."

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