Eddie Jones confirmed as Japan head coach despite some JRFU reservations

Colin Newboult
New Japan head coach Eddie Jones.

Former Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones.

Former Wallabies boss Eddie Jones will be the next head coach of Japan, just two months after Australia’s Rugby World Cup pool stage exit.

He impressed in his interview last week and will attend a press conference on Thursday after the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) announced him as their new head coach.

Jones takes over from Jamie Joseph, who ended his eight-year spell in charge of the national team following the Rugby World Cup.

His first stint

Joseph had taken over from the 63-year-old, who held the role from 2012 to 2015 and has always enjoyed immense popularity in Japan after guiding them to an incredible victory over South Africa at the 2015 World Cup.

He was therefore always a strong candidate for the role but, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, there were some reservations within the governing body over reappointing Jones.

His friendship with JRFU president Masato Tsuchida went in his favour, however, and after being put forward as the preferred candidate by the selection panel following the interview, his appointment was ratified at a board meeting.

The 63-year has consistently denied stories that he has been speaking to the JRFU, after it was reported in September that he held a Zoom interview with the governing body on August 25.

That story broke just shy of the Wales game, a match the Wallabies lost 40-6 to effectively send them crashing out of the World Cup.

‘Committed to Australia’

Jones was asked about the Japan links following the match and several times since then, but he always stated that he was committed to Australia.

The former England boss resigned immediately after the conclusion of the global tournament, citing issues within Rugby Australia for his departure, but he has now found his next job.

In a statement, the JRFU confirmed that Jones will take over as head coach, starting on January 1, 2024.

The length of contract has not been officially disclosed but it has been reported that his deal will take him through until the end of the 2027 World Cup, which is ironically being held in Australia.

READ MORE: Joe Schmidt’s odds for Wallabies role shorten after Rugby Australia appoint close ally