Eddie Jones speaks with Will Genia and Samu Kerevi after last year’s Twickenham Test. Pic: Getty Images
Eddie Jones speaks with Will Genia and Samu Kerevi after last year’s Twickenham Test. Pic: Getty Images

Eddie to return to the Wallabies fold?

England coach Eddie Jones will not rule out a return to the Wallabies but has squashed speculation that he may lead the British and Irish Lions to South Africa in 2021.

Jones, along with departing Wales coach Warren Gatland, has been linked to the Wallabies job in recent weeks with incumbent Michael Cheika not expected to continue after this year's World Cup in Japan.

Asked by The Courier-Mail if he would consider a return to the job that he held for four years before being sacked in 2005, Jones answered, "I don't think I would ever say never, but it's not something I have really thought about."

With Jones contracted to England until the end of 2021 an impediment to him leaving early to join the Wallabies would be the chance to lead the Lions tour. But he said he had no interest in the coveted role.

"The last thing I want to do is spend eight weeks in a blazer," he said.

"That's an ambassador job. I'm a coach.

"I'd rather coach the Queensland Sheffield Shield team."

With a World Cup quarter-final showdown between England and the Wallabies a distinct possibility, Jones has been keeping a close eye on Australia's Super Rugby teams and is impressed with what he has seen.

"One thing they are not short of is talent," he said.

"Cheik is in a good position. This could be his last hurrah and he's got nothing to lose."

Jones does not believe the arrival of newly-appointed Rugby Australia director of rugby Scott Johnson will cause problems for Cheika.

"Scott is coming in for the long term, not the short term. There's no value in him having any raging fights with Cheika. He's experienced enough to give him a free rein,'' Jones said.

"Rugby Australia has already had a few sacrificial lambs. Steve Larkham has gone, the strength and conditioning guy (Haydn Masters) has gone. I think they'll leave Cheik alone and let him see what he can do."

England, second favourite for the World Cup behind New Zealand, is in Pool C along with France and Argentina.

Australia is in Pool D with Six Nations grand slam champions Wales.

Should England finish top of its pool as expected, and Australia fail to beat Wales, the two countries will meet in a knockout quarterfinal on October 19.

It is a prospect that Jones, whose England team holds a 6-0 winning record over Cheika's Wallabies, is excited about.

"Good game, hey?" he chuckled.

News Corp Australia


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