England relaxed over new Jones contract

Twickenham (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


England are prepared to bide their time over a possible contract extension for coach Eddie Jones amid ongoing speculation over whether the Australian will still be in charge for the 2023 World Cup in France.

Jones took England all the way to this year's final in Japan only to see them go down to a comprehensive 32-12 defeat by South Africa, having been appointed following the team's woeful first-round exit on home soil at the 2015 edition.

His current deal runs until 2021 and Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney, speaking to reporters at Twickenham on Tuesday, said talks were ongoing about whether to extend it until the next World Cup.

"He and I have sat down and talked on a number of occasions," Sweeney said. "He's away in Japan at the moment. We continue to discuss it but at the moment he's fully committed to seeing out the contract until 2021 and we'll take it from there."

"Reading the media over the last six weeks, the camps are pretty split. Some are saying don't rush into anything, just stay with 2021. Other people are saying you should really do a four-year until France 2023.

"We'll do whatever we think is right for England rugby and it's got to work for both sides. Eddie is committed to seeing out his contract so there's no looming deadline when we'll feel we need to make a pressing decision."

Last month's loss to the Springboks in Yokohama was England's third defeat in four World Cup final appearances, with their lone success coming when they beat an Australia side coached by Jones in the 2003 showpiece in Sydney.

Jones is a notoriously demanding coach but Sweeney said an RFU review of England's performance in Japan, which featured anonymous contributions from Red Rose players, followed by a debrief chaired by former UK sports minister Hugh Robertson, had been "very supportive" of the former Wallaby and Japan boss.

"As you'd expect having reached the final, it was overwhelmingly positive," Sweeney said.

"There was nothing that came out of it that was a fundamental miss or (meant) something needs to be changed."

England's next match will be their 2020 Six Nations opener away to France in Paris on February 2.