Eddie Jones: England boss backed by the RFU ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup

Dylan Coetzee

Eddie Jones has been backed by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to take England to the Rugby World Cup in France next year.

The experienced coach has been under pressure after an average Six Nations campaign but managed to bounce back with a solid 2-1 series win against Australia, restoring some faith.

Improvements to be made

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney outlined that there are some work-ons, but the RFU see Jones continuing his reign as the best option for the showpiece event.

“We’d expect him to go through to ’23,” Sweeney said of Jones. “It is tough at the highest level of sport. There is so much scrutiny and reasonable scrutiny.

“I think it is important sometimes not to over-react but it is also equally important not to under-react.

“We don’t just have a review after every major tournament, we have an ongoing review process. We will clearly be doing that with Eddie and the coaches when they come back, they are due back at the end of the month.

“We have been looking for signs of ‘are we on track?’, ‘do we still believe in the direction we’re going in?’ and ‘do we have the confidence (in Jones)?’ and we’ve said we do.

“We are not blind to some of the areas that need to be addressed. We’ve got to improve a lot to be competitive.

“The challenge for us is to improve at the rate we think is good enough to be fully competitive in 2023. And we do believe Eddie is the guy to take us there.”

Strong record against south

Sweeney claimed Jones’ record against southern hemisphere opposition was central to their continued faith in the Australian, who has won 20 from 25 games against southern teams.

“One of the reasons we feel very confident around decisions and around conversations regarding Eddie is his win ratio, particularly in the southern hemisphere,” continued Sweeney.

“I think that’s now 25 games against tier one southern hemisphere teams and 20 of those won, so it’s an 80 per cent win ratio. If you add in the other southern hemisphere teams, it goes up to about 82 per cent win ratio.

“And, if you’re going to do well in a World Cup, you’re going to have to go across a run and beat at least three, maybe even four, southern hemisphere teams.

“We feel that’s an advantage and that’s something we’ve got with him that we rank pretty highly.”

Sweeney recently suffered a pulmonary embolism which prevented him from touring Australia, but he has since returned to good health.

“I’m fully fit now, back to it,” he said.

“I had a six-day stint in hospital, came out, I’ve been back at work eight weeks, been back in the gym virtually every day for about the last six weeks so hopefully one more scan to go and back to normality.

“The doctors wouldn’t let me fly, unfortunately, down to Australia.”

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