LONDON — Eddie Jones is open to an approach from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) about coaching England, but thinks incumbent Stuart Lancaster deserves a fair review first, the Japan coach said yesterday.
The former Australia coach, who engineered Japan’s stunning upset of South Africa last month, has been touted in the media as a candidate to replace Lancaster after England failed to qualify for the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.
Jones signed a deal to coach the Cape Town-based Stormers in Super Rugby less than two weeks ago but said becoming England’s first foreign coach was appealing. “If England approached me, would I listen to them? Of course I would, but whether the RFU part ways with Stuart Lancaster is a big and difficult decision,” he wrote in a column in the Daily Mail.
“A proper review is needed to find out why they changed strategy halfway through the tournament. A lot of time has been invested in to Lancaster and his squad have enormous potential, so he needs to convince the board that he can take those youngsters forward to 2019.”
Jones, who coached Australia to the 2003 World Cup final and was an advisor to South Africa when they won the tournament in 2007, said it had been an error to dump flyhalf George Ford for Owen Farrell for the second match against Wales.
“(Lancaster) must show . . . that he will learn from his mistakes and, if he can’t do that, I think he should go,” Jones added. “There will be a lot of contenders queuing up for his job, but it’s a case of deciding what they want and then finding that person.”
RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said there would be no knee-jerk decisions over Lancaster’s future.