According to a report from Gavin Mairs for The Telegraph, Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill has emerged as a contender to succeed Eddie Jones at England’s helm.

Rugby Football Union chief executive Nigel Melville leading the search to find Jones’ successor and has been impressed by Cockerill’s impact with Ediburgh in the Pro 14.

Cockerill was sacked by Premiership club Leicester Tigers early last year but guided Edinburgh third place in the Pro14 last season.

While both Ian Ritchie and Steve Brown – who led the RFU before Melville – said that England’s next head coach would ideally be internationally proven, Melville said that coaches like Cockerill were in the mix.

“Cockerill has done an amazing job in Edinburgh,” said Melville.

“There are these young guys around that you sometimes don’t think about – Joe Worsley has done a great job in Bordeaux, he’s head coach now and it’ll be interesting to see how that develops.

“Steve Borthwick [England assistant coach] did some great work going down to various countries, obviously working with Japan.

“I’m sure Steve would be interested in the head coach job. He’s a good developing coach and he knows international rugby pretty well now.”

On the international credential being a prerequisite, Melville said “we want a heavyweight international coach or a potential international heavyweight coach that is going to develop into an international coach, but I want a coach. One who understands culture and the importance of culture.

“We have seen many coaches come in, the southern hemisphere [coach] going into a club where they bring a southern hemisphere culture with them and it doesn’t fit our culture and the team don’t perform.”

Jones is under contract with the RFU until 2021, but could be outed with a poor showing at next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.


Cockerill played 27 tests for England as a hooker before moving into coaching following his retirement in 2005. Cockerill was with the Tigers for 12 years before being axed.

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