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'All-time great corporate howlers': English media panic over RFU's Jones decision as fears of retribution grow

By AAP
(Photo by Mark Evans/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Black humour has become the order of the day down Twickenham way after news that Eddie Jones is back “like Freddie Krueger in a tracksuit to haunt English dreams”.

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This vivid image, from the Guardian’s distinguished rugby correspondent, summed up how the English game has reacted with a guffaw – but also a faint hint of panic – to the idea of RFU bigwigs discarding their Aussie coach only for him to re-emerge in green and gold as their World Cup nemesis.

The potential ‘Nightmare on Cabbage Patch’ is that dear old Eddie, armed with that Cheshire Cat grin and his vast inside knowledge of the England team, will wreak his ultimate revenge for being canned – very possibly in the quarter-final in Marseille.

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One former England international Ugo Monye was even left joking – at least, it sounded as if he was joking – that Eddie had plotted this scenario all along over the last 12 months of his ailing reign at HQ.

“Did he sack Dave Rennie by taking England down there (to Australia) in the summer and winning that series?” laughed Monye on the BBC Rugby Podcast.

“This is his masterplan – he’s got a seven-figure pay-off, he’s got Australia, he’s sacked Dave Rennie!”

The Guardian’s man Robert Kitson painted the scenario: “Imagine if the Wallabies end up facing England in the knockout stages of this year’s Rugby World Cup? And beating them.

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“The RFU’s decision to sack Jones last month would go down as one of the all-time great corporate howlers.”

“It is a dream scenario for the Tasmanian – potentially, one of nightmares for the suits at Twickenham,” agreed the Daily Mirror’s rugby correspondent Alex Spink, recognising the 62-year-old Jones as the real winner.

National papers were left concentrating on how the Wallabies’ signing must have happened, with the UK’s Daily Telegraph reporting that “secret talks” had gone on for 14 months between Jones and his former employers at RA.

Oliver Brown, the Telegraph’s chief sports writer, noted: “It has the potential to be an unholy mess, borne of the RFU’s choice not to introduce a non-compete clause in Jones’ severance package.

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“Suddenly, he has all the ingredients he needs to inflict brutal revenge on his former employers.

“Homecomings do not come any more piquant, or more laced with intrigue. For the RFU, it could yet be a hellish reminder of what they have lost.

“Jones is seldom more dangerous than when he makes it personal.”

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