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Eddie Jones has been at it again, doing some coaching outside of his England job

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by PA)

Eddie Jones has admitted he has been at it again, coaching outside the remit of his England head coach position. It was last week when the Australian fronted media to defend his extracurricular coaching following the avalanche of criticism that accompanied the revelation that he was coaching at Beauden Barrett’s Suntory Sungoliath in Japan less than a week after the RFU published its review on recent England’s fifth-place Six Nations campaign.


Jones’ excursion to the Far East especially drew the ire of ex-England boss Clive Woodward, who claimed: “His coaching role in Japan makes English rugby look RIDICULOUS… he should be 100 per cent focused on the job and can afford absolutely zero distractions.”

When asked last week by RugbyPass for the reasons why he needed to do some additional coaching on a consultancy basis, Jones explained: “I’m a coach, I have got to practise coaching. If you are a golfer you play golf, if you’re a coach you coach and I only get twelve weeks a year to coach with England so I have got to use my time in between to practise coaching and find better ways to coach.

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For 25 years I have always practised coaching and I actually use my holidays to practise coaching because I love it, mate, and I get the opportunity to do a little bit of coaching at Suntory, I get the opportunity to work with some of the best players in the world.

“Bob Dwyer, who was the foremost influence on my coaching, always said the best players are the best coaches so find the best players, pick their brains, learn from them and that is the best way to improve your coaching. That is something I have done continually for 25 years, I go around clubs continually to try to pick people’s brains and obviously you share some information with them. That is the obvious thing, it’s information sharing. Very useful, mate.”

In the wake of Jones’ defence of his extracurricular coaching outside England, Exeter boss Rob Baxter reckoned it would be very difficult for a Premiership club to allow the England coach to come in and do this type of training closer to his home rather than having to fly overseas. “As regards being on a field and coaching, it would be pretty difficult if I’m honest with you… I don’t think coaching in the Premiership would be anything like the simple answer that it seems,” suggested Baxter.


“I genuinely don’t because our plans and what we are aiming for are for club success. Yes, we want our players to have some success and play international rugby but ultimately most coaches would tell you that you want to avoid disruption throughout the year, not encourage it.”

It was only last Thursday when Baxter outlined his scepticism regarding Jones potentially practising coaching in the Premiership, but less than a week later the Australian admitted he had been coaching at Leicester this week thanks to accommodation from Tigers boss Steve Borthwick, his former England and Japan assistant.

Asked about Leicester getting six players included in the England summer series squad, Jones volunteered: “It’s an exciting time for Leicester, an exciting time for us to pick well-coached, well-manufactured players from Leicester and Steve Borthwick is doing an outstanding job.

“Yesterday [Tuesday], I spent the day up there with him. Managed to do a little bit of coaching. I know I am not supposed to coach another team so I apologise now, I apologise for coaching another team but I was able to do a little bit of practise there and it was good. It’s great to see those young players come through.


“Leicester is such an important club for England. Historically they have been at the base of most successful England sides and they went through a difficult period. Now Steve is there, he is doing an outstanding job and bringing good young talent through. You look at the young guys that are coming out of the Tigers, (Joe) Heyes, (Dan) Kelly, (Freddie) Steward, they are all about the same age and they will have a few more in the (England) 20s.”

Ellis Genge, George Martin and Harry Wells were the three other Leicester picks in the 34-strong England squad for next week’s five-day training camp in London. There was no place for seasoned Tigers such as half-backs George Ford and Ben Youngs, who declared himself unavailable last month to be considered for Lions tour selection.

“He is rested,” said Jones about the Ford situation. “He has got a nagging calf injury that he has carried all season and battled his way through. The best thing for him now is to have a good recovery period and then get his body ready for the next period of time.

“They [Ford and co] were very understanding. They know they have had a particularly difficult period of time and they need to rest and recuperate, they need to get their bodies back to good condition. They were all carrying an injury of some sort that they need to properly rehab, so it is a great opportunity for them.

“It’s like a 21st birthday party,” Jones continued, focusing on the dominance of fresh faces in an England squad containing 21 uncapped players. “They are all exciting and we want to see what they have got. Coming into an England camp you have to adapt quickly because it is a different situation to your club and the test is the ability to adapt quickly and then play to their strengths.

“They have all got strengths and that is why they have been selected in the squad. All 21 have got a great opportunity. We will be watching them closely in terms of the way they prepare for training, the way they train, the way they go about business with other players and it is their opportunity to put their foot forward.”


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