England's Eddie Jones vows to adapt to virus challenges

London (AFP) –


Eddie Jones has admitted he cannot predict the impact of the coronavirus on his England team, downplaying the significance of his own pay cut at a time of huge uncertainty for global rugby.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has announced plans to make 139 staff redundant to cope with an expected £107 million ($134 million) in lost revenue.

The economic threats of the coronavirus shutdown mean the RFU will for the first time lift its previous ring-fencing of the England team budget.

The English Premiership remains on course for a return to action in August, but England's autumn Test schedule is yet to be finalised.

Head coach Jones said 2019 World Cup finalists England must accept changes as inevitable in light of job losses and budget cuts at the union.

"I think you've got to keep everything in perspective with what's happening in society," he told reporters on Thursday.

"It's a difficult time for sport and we'll just have to adapt and that's part of the challenges of everyone at the moment, adapting to what's placed in front of you."

Jones has accepted a 25 percent pay cut while the RFU battles to balance its books.

Asked how the RFU's revised finances will affect the England team and his resources as head coach, Jones said: "Look I don't know, I'm not an economist, all I am is a rugby coach.

"And at some stage I'll get told the games, I'll get told what staff I have and what players are available.

"Any sort of cuts that we have to take as staff or players now, we've got to look at it in terms of what's happening in society."

Referring to his own salary reduction, Jones said: "I don't think it's any grand gesture by me, I was asked to do it, I understand the situation.

"Sometimes you have to make sacrifices. And the sacrifice I'm making personally as compared to what other people are making in sport and in society is negligible."

- Tuilagi -

Powerhouse centre Manu Tuilagi has saved his England career by securing a move to Sale after leaving Leicester.

The 29-year-old would have made himself unavailable for England had he moved to an overseas club, but Jones revealed his delight that the Samoa-born star was staying on home soil.

"Manu made up his mind what he was going to do," said Jones. "We had a couple of phone calls, we kept in contact the whole time, I gave him a small piece of advice.

"He knew what he wanted to do, he's a valuable Test player, his performance in the World Cup and the Six Nations indicated there's still more in him and I'm delighted by his decision.

"It's obviously a difficult time for everyone at the moment, and we're glad he's made that decision."