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'I'm a coach, I've got to practice': Jones breaks silence over criticised Japanese trip

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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England boss Eddie Jones has defended his recent consultancy work which included him coaching at Suntory Sungoliath, the Japanese club where All Blacks talisman Beauden Barrett has been playing this year during his break from Super Rugby. Jones headed to the Far East to spend time at the Top League outfit he has linked up with regularly during his time as England head coach. 

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However, his trip on this occasion, which came less than a week after the RFU published its review on April 21 into England’s terrible fifth place Guinness Six Nations finish, provoked some scathing criticism.

Leading the charge was Clive Woodward, the 2003 World Cup-winning England coach. Writing in his April 28 Daily Mail column, he queried: “Has anyone got the bottle to keep Eddie Jones under control? 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.”

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Ahead of the June 10 announcement of the England squad for the three-game summer series versus Scotland A, USA and Canada, Jones fronted media on Wednesday for the first time since his team’s March 20 Six Nations finale defeat by Ireland in Dublin. 

Asked by RugbyPass what he made of the criticism regarding his consultancy work outside England, Jones replied: “I’m a coach, I have got to practice 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 practice coaching and find better ways to coach. So I am not aware of any criticism but I’m sure there might have been. You can send me the articles if you like. I’m sure my mother has got them somewhere so I might ask my mum if she has got them.”

Jones further explained the rationale of why he seeks out opportunities elsewhere outside of his England head coach remit. “For 25 years I have always practised coaching and I actually use my holidays to practice coaching because I love it, mate, and I get the opportunity to do a little of coaching at Suntory, I get the opportunity to work with some of the best players in the world. 

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“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.” 

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'I'm a coach, I've got to practice': Jones breaks silence over criticised Japanese trip

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