Eddie Jones set to quit Wallabies for Japan head coaching role as World Cup disaster deepens

Before this year’s Rugby World Cup had even kicked off Eddie Jones lashed out at reporters, declaring he was fed up with the line of questioning about the team’s prospects.

“I can’t believe the level of negativity here boys,” he said at the time.

“You’re so bloody negative about everything.”

But now the Wallabies have already been sent packing from the World Cup before the knockout stage for the first time and Jones is reportedly set to quit as head coach.

Multiple reports, both in Australia and overseas, claim Jones is expected to take over as Jamie Joseph’s successor and will be named Japan’s next head coach.

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Even Japanese sports newspaper Sponichi has reported the news, claiming president of the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU), Masato Tsuchida, reached out to Jones in spring.

“Contract negotiations have been held privately behind the scenes, and preparations are underway for (his) return (for the first time) since the 2015 World Cup, which led them to a historic three wins,” the report read.

It followed a report from The Sydney Morning Herald last month which alleged Jones held a secret Zoom interview with the JRFU before the start of the World Cup.

Jones denied that report and was also adamant suggestions he had been “negotiating” with JRFU officials were “bulls*** and gossip”.

“I am 100 per cent committed to the job and I’ve said that previously,” Jones told reporters in France during the World Cup.

“I haven’t applied for a job for a long time. Someone has a story and they are running with it.

“The only thing I can say is I’m committed to coach Australia. And there’s the other side of the coin that Australian Rugby who make the decision after this World Cup, whether they want to keep me or not, and that’s up to them.

“Whatever goes on, I’ve come back to help Australian rugby. So if I become an issue, then I’ll have to go. I’m pretty even-tempered about it.”

Rugby Australia (RA) chairman, Hamish McLennan, said he would be “surprised and disappointed” if Jones left the Wallabies. Jones is contracted with RA until the end of their home World Cup in 2027.

“My understanding all along is that wherever he is in the world, Japan would take him back in some capacity in a heartbeat so there is a standing offer there to take him,” McLennan told the UK’s Telegraph Sport, who also reported news of Jones’ impending exit on Wednesday.

“We have asked him if he interviewed with Japan, and he has categorically denied it on a number of occasions, so we take him at his word.”

That is consistent with reports that even before signing with Rugby Australia, there was always the understanding JRFU was open to Jones returning to the role.

As for who could replace Jones, Peter FitzSimons wrote in a column for The Sydney Morning Herald that he “would beg Robbie Deans to come back”.

“He is accomplished, understands Australian rugby, and is everything that Eddie is not: cool-headed, inclined to stability in team selections, and extremely well-liked by everyone in the media,” FitzSimons wrote.

“He is currently coaching in Japan, so if they got Eddie and we got Robbie there would be a certain symmetry to it.”

World Cup winner Stephen Larkham, Michael Cheika and former Wallabies assistant coach Dan McKellar are among other names likely to be floated should the role be vacated by Jones as is expected.

Source website: www.foxsports.com.au

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