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'Eclectic': The Jones verdict on Cockerill and co joining England

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Getty Images)

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Eddie Jones has declared himself satisfied with the latest overhaul of his England coaching staff, Richard Cockerill, Anthony Seibold and Martin Gleeson all contracted in time for next week’s mini-training camp in London. Having finished fifth in the Six Nations last March, the English boss had been looking to revamp his backroom staff and he has done so following the exits of Simon Amor, Jason Ryles and John Mitchell.


He hopes in time they will all fit together like a glove and guide England all the way through to the 2023 World Cup in France. “We have an eclectic mix of coaches. A South African (Matt Proudfoot), a Coventry boy, it’s such a small world. Cockerill was signed by Tony Russ, who was the director of rugby when I played for Leicester. He has come in. 

We have got Seibold, who is an Australian, and then we have got Martin Gleeson, who is a Wigan boy, so their backgrounds are quite diverse, they bring different ideas to the table and what they have got to do is add to our game. It’s a fantastic opportunity.”

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Jack Nowell guests on the latest episode of RugbyPass Offload
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Jack Nowell guests on the latest episode of RugbyPass Offload

Jones explained that he had been looking to add a second coach to help look after the forwards since bringing in Proudfoot, who had been scrum coach with the World Cup-winning Springboks until he joined England for the 2020 Six Nations. 

“The difficult thing post the World Cup, we finished the World Cup in November and we all needed a bit of a break because we were exhausted and then we had the Six Nations starting, so we had December to try to recruit staff. We had been looking before that but for those three months, the only focus you had was the World Cup so we had December to find the right staff. 

“Matt Proudfoot was available. At that stage, we couldn’t find another forwards coach of the appropriate standard to help him because it is a two-man job coaching the forwards these days. It’s very hard for one coach to do it given the detail of the lineouts, scrums, kick-off, you have the ruck, around the ruck, so we were always looking to find a second forwards coach and the timing of Richard’s availability (this summer) was first-class. Now we have got two good forwards coaches to look after the biggest area of the game.”


Jones added that he and Cockerill never shared the dressing room as Leicester players as the Australian had left England by the time his new assistant arrived to play at hooker, the position he had also played in. “He [Cockerill] came just after me. I had to go back and be acting principal in a school in 1992 which is the hardest job I have ever done in my life. 

“Much harder than being the head coach of England. Imagine doing a Zoom call with 700 parents, 70 teachers. Now that is challenging. So this [coaching England] is like a piece of cake. He came after that, in the summer of the next season in ’92.”


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