Eddie Jones and Joe Schmidt miss out on international head coach’s role to ex-England forwards guru – report

Colin Newboult
Eddie Jones and Joe Schmidt chatting before England v All Blacks clash in 2023.

Eddie Jones and Joe Schmidt chatting before England v All Blacks clash in 2023.

Former England coach Richard Cockerill is highly likely to become Georgia’s new head coach having been their preferred candidate over the likes of Eddie Jones.

The 52-year-old was recently sacked as Montpellier head honcho following a disastrous start to the season in the Top 14.

Cockerill took that position after spending two years with the Red Rose as their forwards guru under Jones and Steve Borthwick.

Selected ahead of Jones

According to the Daily Mail, he now appears set to beat his former boss to the role at the Lelos, with the Georgia Rugby Union earmarking him as the ideal replacement for Levan Maisashvili.

“We discussed almost every possible candidate. Whether it was Eddie Jones or others, we talked to almost everyone,” Georgia Rugby president Ioseb Tkemaladze said.

“Richard is coming to have closer talks. We still have to agree on micro-details with him and hopefully we will be able to do that. We are close to reaching an agreement.

“If we agree, he will receive a long-term offer. The contract will be four years.”

Maisashvili left Georgia after a disappointing Rugby World Cup, which saw him fail to win a game, with an 18-18 draw against Portugal as their best result.

Both Jones and former Ireland head honcho Joe Schmidt, who was the All Blacks’ attach coach at the 2023 World Cup, were on the shortlist according to the Mail, but the Lelos have gone with Cockerill.

New boss’ record

Renowned for his hard-nosed approach, Cockerill enjoyed a successful time as Leicester Tigers’ director of rugby between 2009 and 2017 before a stint with Toulon.

He then took over at Edinburgh and spent four years in Scotland before two years with England as their forwards coach.

After a disappointing few months in charge of Montpellier, the 52-year-old is set to take his skills to Georgia.

Cockerill is in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, to finalise negotiations and to take in Black Lion’s European Challenge Cup debut against Premiership side Gloucester.

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