Eddie Jones England unveiling
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Eddie Jones emphasises England youth at Red Rose unveiling

| 20.11.2015

Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | November 20, 2015

Jones appointed first foreign head coach by RFU

Former Australia and Japan boss Eddie Jones hinted towards youth as his blueprint to revive English rugby following the host nation flopping at the recent Rugby World Cup.

Eddie Jones Press Conference - Twickenham

Tasmania native Jones, 55, talked up the prospect of building a young team to do better next time round at this unveiling as the Red Rose’s first foreign head coach.

Coral have cut England overnight from 2/1 to 7/4 favourites to make an immediate response under new management, and win the 2016 Six Nations.

“Great talent out there”

“It’s a very exciting opportunity,” said Jones upon his appointment. “England have won two of the last three Under-20 World Cups, so there’s great talent out there. I’m looking forward to the project ahead of us.

“There’s some good young players here. What we have to do is systematically, over the four years, bring young players in, give them experience so that when we get to 2019 [Rugby World Cup], they have the experience to be a consistent performer.”

Britain Rugby WCup England Australia

Whether going for youth is a dramatic departure from the approach of Jones’ predecessor Stuart Lancaster, who selected just six players aged 30 or over for his Rugby World Cup roster on home soil, is a moot point.

Grooming a successor

Not only is Jones concerned with building a team, but his brief also appears to contain getting someone ready to succeed him as England boss.

“One of the goals is by the 2019 World Cup to have a couple of the assistant coaches ready to take over as head coach,” added Jones. “I see that as a fundamental part of the job and there’s real talent in England.”

Rugby Union - Japan Training Session - Brighton College

Jones would not be drawn on the who those people are, but ex-England skipper Steve Borthwick, who worked alongside him as forwards coach with Japan, is expected to join the backroom staff.

“Unique style”

Last, and perhaps most significantly, Jones has pledged to put together a pragmatic tactical approach reflecting the opposition in international rugby.

“One thing you have to do is create your own unique style of play,” continued Jones. “We won’t be copying the All Blacks, we will make our own style and I want the players to believe that 100 per cent.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool B - USA v Japan - Kingsholm Stadium

“Every side is different. You can be a devil one day and an angel the next day. We don’t know what I’m going to be. We may go to Scotland on 6 February and it might be pouring with rain – we might have to win 1-0. That’s got to be the pragmatism of the team.

“Everyone says New Zealand are a great attacking team and they are – but they kick the ball more than any team in the world. You play to the situation. We want the All Blacks to be watching how England play, that would be nice wouldn’t it?”

Foreign coach, but no players abroad

There’s been no softening of stance by the RFU regarding foreign-based English players, however, who will remain ineligible to represent their country whilst playing abroad.

Jones has accepted this: “I’ve had a good chat to [RFU Chief Executive] Ian Ritchie. I want players who want to play for England, and to play for England you have to play in the Premiership.”


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Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.