Jones' cricket dream on hold as he eyes fresh tilt at World Cup glory

Twickenham (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Eddie Jones has said his ambition of watching cricket in the Caribbean will have to wait after he signed up for a fresh crack at winning the World Cup with England.

When he became England coach after the 2015 World Cup, the Australian, a lifelong cricket fan, said he planned to be watching cricket in the West Indies when his initial four-year deal was up.

But having first extended until 2021, it was announced Thursday the 60-year-old has committed himself to taking England all the way to the 2023 World Cup in France.

Asked what had happened to his dream of watching from the boundary edge in the West Indies, Jones said in a conference call from Japan: "That is going to have wait a bit, mate."

Jones, Australia's coach when they lost to England in the 2003 World Cup final, was 80 minutes away from seeing his current side lift the trophy in Japan last year after a thrilling semi-final defeat of New Zealand, only for England to be overwhelmed by a rampant South Africa in the final.

The often outspoken Jones said England had to win the World Cup to be considered a great side.

"We want to become one of those teams where people remember how you play for a period of time, that's the ache I have as a coach," he explained.

"The test of greatness is to do it consistently. With that comes results. If we're the greatest team then a World Cup medal is probably sitting in front of us.

"Our goal hasn't changed at all from what I stated at the start of this cycle and it will continue to be the same.

"I want a team that plays the perfect game of rugby and I want a team that can be remembered as a great team."

- 'Blank sheet' -

Meanwhile, Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney believes the coronavirus outbreak could lead to a radical shake-up of the global game.

With international rugby union brought to a standstill by the spread of COVID-19, concerns are mounting that major unions and clubs could go out of business in the months ahead, with USA Rugby filing for bankruptcy protection and the likes of Australia and New Zealand forecasting losses.

But Sweeney said the crisis had led to enhanced co-operation from countries on both sides of the Equator rather than the traditional friction.

"What's come out of this is an agreement between all the unions -- north and south (hemisphere) and World Rugby to really start with a blank sheet of paper," said Sweeney.

"When you have a crisis of this nature and scale -- and I don't think anybody could have predicted anything of this magnitude - it does highlight where you have fault lines.

"A lot of conversations now are around 'how do we come out of this and emerge stronger?'

"We don't want to just come back in and carry on with the same model, that just repeats the errors and the difficulties of the past."