ENGLAND HAVE HINTED that they have both Joe Schmidt and Warren Gatland on their shortlist to take over from incumbent coach Eddie Jones.
The RFU announced late last year that they were extending Jones’s contract through to 2021 but were simultaneously beginning the search for his successor.
They want a controlled hand over if possible, but have also said that if England fail to meet their goals at the World Cup, Jones won’t be retained after the tournament.
RFU chief executive Steve Brown told the Daily Telegraph that the key attributes they are looking for are coaches with international experience and proven ability to win tests.
When he was asked if there was a gentlemen’s agreement in place to not go after rival home union coaches, Brown said: “No, that doesn’t exist. Half of the tier-one coaches changed at the last World Cup and most of them were Northern Hemisphere, so they are going to go in different directions.
“It’s pretty competitive, so no one’s off limits. It’s all to do with whether they fit the profile and the criteria that we’re looking for. Whilst we would love to have an English head coach eventually, our priority is still to get the best coach for England.”
Gatland, who guided the Lions to an historic series draw in New Zealand last year has already confirmed he will be stepping down from his job with Wales after the World Cup.
Schmidt, who is seen as a possible successor of Steve Hansen at the All Blacks, is also off contract with Ireland at the end of 2019 and Brown said neither had been precluded from discussions.
“We’re not precluding anyone from the list. But what we’re not going to do is to upset another union. We are going to be respectful of those arrangements, as we would expect others to do with us.”
MEN IN DEMAND England have said men such as Joe Schmidt are available to be on their coaching short list.