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Anthony Seibold is reportedly set to quit as an England assistant

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Eddie Jones is braced for another backroom staff reshuffle less than a year out from the World Cup following reports in Australia that England defence coach Anthony Seibold is set to be named as the new Manly Sea Eagles head coach. It was only last year when the Australian was recruited to fill the vacancy caused by the departure of John Mitchell to Wasps, but it’s now said that the prospect of coaching at the 2023 World Cup will not be enough to convince Seibold to delay his return to the NRL.

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Having attended the three-day England training camp in London at the start of last week, Seibold has since been back in Australia where it was announced on Thursday that Manly had sacked head coach Des Hasler.

This was followed by club owner Scott Penn soon discussing the merits of Seibold in an interview on Fox Sports. “Anthony has been at the club before, he has demonstrated phenomenal intellect, he is a great tactician, he is really good with the players and he has shown he has got credentials as a head coach.

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“We are still working through our pathway whether that is assistant to start or the full process but right now we have identified him as someone we are very interested in and someone who certainly had a few false starts himself but he is very capable and would do a tremendous job.”

NRL was where Seibold learned his trade, coaching at the Broncos and the Rabbitohs before Jones anointed him as the England assistant successor to Mitchell. England have since won seven of their eleven Test matches, but their defence wasn’t as watertight as they wanted.

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Just one try was conceded in the last November’s three-game Autumn Nations Series, a late score from Springboks winger Makazole Mapimpi, but they have since seen 18 tries scored against the Seibold defence, eleven in the disappointing Guinness Six Nations and another seven in the three-match series win over Australia in July.

Seibold is due to fly to London this weekend with England set to start their upcoming four-game series versus Argentina on November 6 followed by further Twickenham games against Japan, New Zealand and South Africa. Ex-England No8 Nick Easter is a potential quick replacement if Seibold does exit as he is currently out of a coaching job following the collapse of Worcester.

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It was eleven months ago, in his first media interview after taking on his role with England, that Seibold spoke about the impression Owen Farrell made on him during a 2018 visit to Saracens. “I did a tour here that was the end of the season when I was coaching South Sydney Rabbitohs so I visited Eddie at Pennyhill Park, I visited Wales, I spoke to the regional coaches there. I spent some time with Gregor (Townsend) up in Scotland and also had time at Saracens.

I was really impressed with what I saw there. Alex Sanderson, the (current) Sale coach, was the defence coach there, so I got to listen to him in the meetings and the one thing I walked away with was the leadership and the way that Owen spoke in meetings really resonated with me.

“I fall back to some of the key senior players I have coached over my time – I just thought the way he spoke was very clear with regards to what he wanted and he certainly supported what the coaches wanted there.”

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