Eddie Jones said Friday he was prepared to consider staying on as England coach beyond the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
The Australian signed a four-year deal when appointed as England’s first overseas boss in November following the then hosts’ first-round exit at last year’s World Cup.
That tournament saw Jones guide Japan to a stunning win over South Africa, arguably the greatest upset in the history of international rugby union.
When he got the England job, Jones said that when his contract was up he would retire to Barbados to watch cricket.
But the 56-year-old indicated Friday he was prepared to put those plans on hold following a brilliant start to his reign as England coach.
England have won all nine Tests they’ve played under Jones, a sequence that includes a Six Nations Grand Slam and a 3-0 series win in Australia.
But Jones, always keen to learn from other sports, was taking nothing for granted as he cited the example of Jose Mourinho whose reign at Manchester United has endured a rocky start.
“In terms of what happens to me, it’s not my decision. If we don’t deliver, the only thing they’ll be asking me is what time does your flight leave,” Jones told reporters at Twickenham on Friday.
“If we do well then there will be a discussion and if we do well the discussion will take place after we do well.
“At this stage I have a plan in place which is to give everything I’ve got for England over the next four years.”
– ‘High stocks’ –
Jones, Australia’s coach when England beat them in the 2003 World Cup final in Sydney, added: “It’s very flattering that people even talk about it, but these things run their natural course.
“Look at Jose Mourinho after three games. Everyone thought he was going to change Manchester United.
“Two games later they’re saying he’s made all these mistakes. That’s the life we live and I understand that.
“When you win games your stocks are pretty high, but if we lose against South Africa (England’s next opponents when they begin their end of year campaign at Twickenham on November 12) people will be saying ‘why have we employed this Australian?’ and there won’t be any discussion about 2019.”
With James Haskell sidelined by foot surgery and set to miss the visit of the Springboks as well as matches against Fiji, Argentina and Australia on successive weekends at Twickenham, Jones is set to have to field a new openside flanker.
The uncapped duo of Sam Jones (Wasps) and Mike Williams (Leicester) are vying for the role and Jones, in another sign of his openness to outside influences, has some special exercises planned for the duo and the rest of a 37-man training squad that will meet up in the south coast town of Brighton this weekend.
A visit to the British judo training base in Wolverhampton, central England, where he met former world champion Kate Howey, made a big impression on Jones.
“We’ve got a couple of people coming from judo, coming down to the Brighton camp,” said Jones.
“One of the things that really came out of the Australia tour is that we need to work on our grappling area at the tackle.
“So we’ve got some judo coaches coming in.” – Agence France-Presse