England boss Jones confirms he will step down after Rugby World Cup

London (AFP) –


Eddie Jones has confirmed the 2023 World Cup will be his final campaign as England coach, saying he has "never been so excited in my life" as he targets South Africa's crown.

It is the first time Jones, who has been in charge since 2015, has indicated that he will step down after the tournament in France.

"It's the last chapter for me for the next two years," said the Australian.

"I've never been so excited in my life. And I think the squad we've assembled is just the start.

"We've got five campaigns and each time we pick the squad we want it to be a bit stronger."

Jones, 61, was appointed in 2015 after England crashed out in the group stages of their home World Cup.

He has taken the team to three Six Nations titles and England reached the 2019 World Cup final in Japan, where they lost to South Africa.

This year they finished a disappointing fifth in the Six Nations.

To launch the final phase of his scheduled eight-year stewardship at Twickenham, Jones has left out four of his most senior players -- Billy and Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and George Ford -- from a 45-man training squad.

Although each of them could feature in the autumn international series that opens against Tonga on November 6 and continues against Australia and South Africa, at the very least they have received a shot across the bows.

"They are all good players," said Jones. "When they are at their best, they are going to be in strong contention. But there's a lot of good young players coming through so the competition is hot.

"It's two years before the World Cup. We are now selecting for the World Cup in mind.

"Almost after the Lions tour (to South Africa this year) you draw a bit of a line in the sand because then you're in the last two years before the World Cup and everything you do counts."