Well paint my buttocks with liquid chocolate and call me Susan. It looks like the RFU, which usually moves at the speed of an oil tanker, has found a new head coach already. His name: Eddie Jones.
What do you think of this appointment? I guess Jones ticks all the boxes. Not only has he got international experience with Australia, South Africa and Japan, he’s also got premiership experience with Saracens. What’s more, he’s very much the flavour of the month after masterminding Japan’s hilarious win over the Saffers during the World Cup.
Somehow, however, this news doesn’t particularly excite me. I’ve never really liked Eddie Jones. Admire him? Yeah sure. Warmed to him? Not really.
In my mind, Jones has always been Woodward’s slightly snarly opposite number in the 2003 World Cup final. I accept that’s a completely irrational and subjective perspective, but hey, I never claimed this blog was a bastion of objectivity.
Although Jones’ CV is pretty impressive – scratch that, it’s very impressive – it does have some blemishes. He lost 8 of his final 9 games as Australia coach, and then coached the Queensland Reds to bottom place in the Super 14 two years later.
Jones can also be a somewhat controversial and polarising figure. I suggest you read this article by the excellent Dean Ryan. If the RFU thought Sir Clive Woodward gave them a few headaches, just wait until Eddie gets stuck into them.
Having said all that, English rugby probably needs someone who won’t put up with the RFU’s guff. Maybe a cage-rattler’s exactly what we need.
There’s also no denying that Eddie Jones is the most qualified coach England have ever had (that I can recall anyway). That’s got to be a good thing – especially if Jake White comes aboard as his assistant. It would be a considerable step up from Lancaster / Farrell anyway.
I just hope that the RFU can find a way to release Jones from his contract fairly swiftly. He’ll need to hit the ground running. I imagine the Stormers, who only unveiled Jones as their new coach last week, won’t make things easy. And why should they? They must be bloody furious.