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Cockerill linked with England role after cafe meeting with Jones

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Out-of-work Richard Cockerill is likely to quickly shed that status amid alleged widespread interest in his credentials, not only in France but at home in England where he reportedly met up at a Leicestershire cafe on Tuesday with the national team boss Eddie Jones who is seeking to flesh out his threadbare backroom staff. 

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It was just July 19 when Cockerill, the respected former Leicester coach, decided his career would be best served by calling time on his progressive stint at Edinburgh, the PRO14 club he joined in 2017 and where he was contracted until 2023 having signed an extension last year.

The 50-year-old ex-England hooker, who was swiftly replaced at Murrayfield by Mike Blair, said ten days ago: “Having had constructive conversations with Jim Mallinder and Mark Dodson post-season it was agreed that we would come to an agreement where I would leave the club by mutual consent to pursue other opportunities.”

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Those ‘other opportunities’ could include a step-up to the Test arena with England ahead of the 2023 World Cup in France. Amid reports that head analyst Joe Lewis has now also left for personal reasons, the RFU announced last Friday that defence coach John Mitchell will leave following the autumn internationals for a role at Wasps.

Jones also still has other positions available as Simon Amor left as attack coach after the underwhelming 2021 Guinness Six Nations, while skills coach Jason Ryles cut his ties after he decided not to join up from Australia due to Covid concerns.

This has left Jones with scrum guru Matt Proudfoot as his only full-time assistant and The Telegraph have reported that the England boss met Cockerill earlier this week. The newspaper read: “Jones has met Cockerill, who left his role as head coach of Edinburgh by mutual consent last week, at a cafe in Leicestershire. A close source said that Cockerill was ‘definitely in the frame’ for an unspecified role with England, although he is understood to be considering all his options and there is interest from Top 14 clubs.”

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It was The Rugby Paper that initially suggested last Sunday that Cockerill’s sudden availability could pique the interest of England and The Telegraph report has confirmed that Jones hasn’t hung about in sounding out his fellow former front-rower who left Leicester in January 2017, going on to spend a few months at Toulon with Mike Ford before signing for Edinburgh. 

Cockerill hasn’t been the only name linked with Jones’ England as Wasps attack coach Martin Gleeson has been touted for a switch since April while Worcester’s new defence and kicking coach Mark Jones, the ex-Wales player who helped coached the Crusaders to Super Rugby titles, has also been mentioned as another possible recruit. 

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Cockerill linked with England role after cafe meeting with Jones

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