Jones to lead England at 2023 World Cup


Twickenham (United Kingdom) (AFP)

Eddie Jones has signed a two-year extension to his contract as England coach that will see him remain in charge of the side until the end of the 2023 World Cup in France, the Rugby Football Union announced Thursday.

The 60-year-old Australian took charge following hosts England's first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.

His current deal expires in 2021 but talks have been ongoing about an extension since Jones guided England to last year's World Cup final in Japan, where they were beaten by South Africa.

His new deal means Jones is set to become England's longest-serving head coach, surpassing the eight-year stint of Clive Woodward -- in charge of the team that won the 2003 World Cup final when they defeated an Australia side coached by Jones.

Acknowledging the impact of the coronavirus outbreak that has led to the suspension of major sport worldwide, and saw him take a 25 percent pay cut this month, Jones said: "The extension is a great honour for me, but in the current environment, it is only right to acknowledge what a difficult time the world is facing.

"I never thought coming here four years ago I would be doing a second four years but the circumstances are right."

Jones, speaking in a conference call, added the challenge of making England the "best team in the world" by going one better than they did in Japan at the next World Cup had inspired him to remain in the post.

"I am excited about raising the standards again," he said. "We have a great team. We set out four years ago to be the best team in the world and unfortunately we missed that by 80 minutes.

"Now we want to be the team that is remembered as being the greatest team the game has ever seen. It's a big ambition but I believe we are capable of doing it.

"We have players with an enhanced reputation, we have a team that is expected to do well, so it's a great opportunity for us to keep moving forward."