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Eddie Jones' media advisor apologises for dig at 'slippery' RFU CEO

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

RFU CEO Bill Sweeney has reportedly received an apology from Eddie Jones’ media advisor after a serious allegation attacking the England rugby chief was written in the comments section at the bottom of an online Times UK article that was published earlier this week.

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Ever since Jones took on the England job for the 2016 Six Nations, he has always taken soundings from the Canberra-based David Pembroke, who has worked as his independent media advisor during the coach’s time in charge in London.

Pressure has been heaped on the RFU in the wake of a deflating Autumn Nations Series campaign in which England won just one of four matches and their record of just five wins in twelve games during 2022 was the worst set of calendar year results since 2008.

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Amid speculation that Jones’ position could now be under threat even though he is contracted through to the end of the 2023 World Cup in France, the Times published an article that revealed Richard Tingay had resigned as the England team doctor on Sunday and that another senior staff member was considering his future.

This report promoted a message from Pembroke that was published in the comments section under the article in which he branded Sweeney, the RFU CEO, as slippery and claimed he was briefing against England head coach Jones. He also called on RFU chairman Tom Ilube to investigate Sweeney.

“The chairman of the RFU must ask the CEO of the RFU did he or persons on his behalf leak the information published in the Times about the hockey coach and the doctor? Simple. If answer is yes, ‘Slippery’ Bill is a goner,” wrote Pembroke in the since-deleted comment.

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Pembroke’s message suggested there must now be some tension in the working relationship between Jones and Sweeney with the RFU conducting a review into the national team’s latest set of deflating results. It has been speculated that the coach will come under greater scrutiny than in the previous reviews that followed underwhelming campaigns.

The Times went on to report that Pembroke was told that the RFU CEO hadn’t briefed against Jones and the media advisor has since apologised for the allegation.

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