Eddie Jones has refuted claims that he had discussions with Japan regarding a coaching position prior to the World Cup.
Eddie Jones expressed remorse over Australia’s unsuccessful World Cup performance, but maintained that he did not feel responsible for the decision to leave his role as the Wallabies’ head coach and take on the position of Japan’s head coach again.
During a press conference on Thursday, the 63-year-old was repeatedly questioned about his initial contact with the Japanese Rugby Football Union regarding replacing Jamie Joseph. He has consistently denied reports of any contact with the JRFU, which first surfaced during the World Cup.
The previous coach for the England team stated that he did not have an interview for the position until this month. He also mentioned that a Zoom meeting with recruiters took place on August 25th, prior to the World Cup, to talk about his past role as the coach for Japan from 2012 to 2015, in order to assist them in their search process.
“I did not have an interview prior to the World Cup,” stated the Australian. “The recruitment agency requested that I share my experiences with them. The only interview I have had was with Japan in December.”
In January of this year, Jones resumed his position as coach of the Australian team by signing a contract that was set to last until the 2027 World Cup. However, following a disappointing performance at the World Cup where Australia failed to advance past the first round for the first time ever, Jones invoked a clause in his contract to depart for Japan.
“I committed to a five-year contract with Australia and our goal was to qualify for two World Cups,” stated Jones. “There were necessary changes that needed to be made within the Australian system, and the chairman and I agreed on a plan to achieve that. However, financial support was needed in order to implement these changes.”
“Following a year, my contract with Australia Rugby was interrupted due to concerns about their ability to fulfill their obligations. I believed that without their full commitment, our ability to develop talent would be limited, so I made the decision to move on.”
When asked about apologizing to fans from Australia, Jones replied, “I gave my all during the short time I was there, but unfortunately it wasn’t sufficient. I wish Australia the best.”
“I am disappointed with the outcome in Australia. I wish I could go back and alter it, but I am filled with regret. I do not feel any remorse for my actions. Everyone has the right to their own beliefs and I cannot influence that. I can only take responsibility for my own choices, and I am at peace with them. It does not bother me if others disagree, as that is their judgment and not within my control.”
The Exeter rugby team’s manager, Rob Baxter, argues that the rule against choosing players based overseas should still be in place, even though it means Henry Arundell may not be able to play for England until 2026.
Arundell has recently agreed to a two-year extension with Racing 92, rejecting an offer from Bath that involved one of the Rugby Football Union’s 25 “hybrid contracts”.
This indicates that Steve Borthwick will not have access to the most thrilling young player in the English game, who scored five tries in the World Cup game against Chile in September, for a period of over two years.
Baxter contends that Arundell’s choice has once again drawn attention to the RFU’s regulation stating that only players participating in the Premiership can be eligible, but he maintains that this is crucial for a thriving league.
The director of rugby for the Chiefs questioned how to showcase our competition as top-tier when we allow the best players to compete outside of the country.
“I do not believe that neglecting to promote the Premiership will benefit the development of English rugby. A successful England team relies on promoting the Premiership. To retain young players in this country, it is important to make them aware that staying here offers the greatest chance to play international rugby.”