England rugby coach Eddie Jones wants to coach in the NRL, and a Sydney newspaper has named the club he supposedly wants to take over.
Australian Jones went from hero to zero at the Rugby World Cup, where England’s brilliant semifinal win over the All Black was followed by a disastrous performance against the Springboks in the final.
The highly quotable Jones has become rugby’s most recognisable character, and the World Cup reversal has left plenty of conjecture over his future.
Continue reading below…
He wouldn’t be the first former Wallaby coach named Jones to head to the NRL, and the similarity doesn’t stop there.
The great 1980s coach Alan Jones – another outspoken character – became the Balmain Tigers boss and then football manager at the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Long time Sydney Morning Herald columnist Danny Weidler has reported that Eddie Jones wants to coach the South Sydney Rabbitohs, where league legend Wayne Bennett currently reigns.
“The noise around Eddie Jones had him in line for the Wallabies coaching job — but the truth is there is another gig that he really covets,” he wrote.
“NRL clubs take note, Jones would like a crack at rugby league at some point in his career.
“Even though he has one of the highest-profile and highest-paying positions in world rugby, there is a part of Jones that wants to test himself. As far as tests go, taking on an NRL job is a big one.
“From what I can gather, he has told mates that taking over from Wayne Bennett when he finishes at Souths appeals. He has a soft spot for the club. It’s doubtful the Rabbitohs would be aware of his ambitions because he has only shared his league thoughts with a select few.”
Jones will have some inside information on the NRL after inviting Raiders coach Ricky Stuart into the English camp at the World Cup in Japan.
Stuart himself is an example of the long cross-code tradition in Australia. He was a schoolboy rugby star and Wallaby tourist before becoming a league standout as a player and coach.
“Eddie loves his league,” Stuart said. “The way the England team played … let’s just say that I have never seen a rugby side play so similarly to a league side.
“I don’t know if he wants to coach in the NRL. Could he do it? I have no doubt he could if that was on his radar. To transfer a coach from code to code … well they’ve never been closer, so yes, it’s doable.”
Jones certainly loves a new challenge and has been involved coaching four different countries at the World Cup – Australia, South Africa, Japan and England.
Weidler also claimed that the job Jones would really like in rugby Australia is CEO.
England rugby’s 2015 World Cup captain Chris Robshaw is among those hoping Jones stays where he is for now.
“I do not know what the mood in the (England rugby) camp is but Eddie is the man to take it to the next World Cup,” he said.
In other news:
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now