Jones de­clared off lim­its

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - DUN­CAN BECH

ENG­LAND have warned Aus­tralia off “sniff­ing around” coach Ed­die Jones by con­firm­ing he will re­main with them un­til at least 2021, and pos­si­bly be­yond, on the back of his per­for­mance at the Rugby World Cup.

Rugby Foot­ball Union chief ex­ec­u­tive Bill Sweeney wants the Aus­tralian men­tor to see out his con­tract and hinted at the prospect of a new deal be­ing agreed that will keep him in charge for France 2023.

Eng­land were over­run 32-12 by South Africa in Satur­day’s World Cup fi­nal but dis­man­tled Aus­tralia and New Zealand en route to reach­ing the Yoko­hama show­piece.

Jones has also mas­ter­minded one grand slam and a Six Na­tions ti­tle since re­plac­ing Stu­art Lan­caster at the end of 2015 and Sweeney still views him as the out­stand­ing can­di­date for the job.

“Ed­die’s one of the world’s best coaches, if not the best, de­spite the re­sult against South Africa,” Sweeney said.

“One of the first pri­or­i­ties when we get back will be to sit down and have a chat.

“We will do it as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

“Ed­die is com­mit­ted to his con­tract through to the end of Au­gust 2021 and he is ful­fill­ing that.

“There are a lot of emo­tions fly­ing around af­ter a game so let the dust set­tle a lit­tle bit and then see where his head’s at, see how he feels about it.

“But the first step is to honour that con­tract through to 2021 and then we’ll dis­cuss what goes on be­yond that.”

When asked about the wis­dom of ap­point­ing a coach for an en­tire World Cup cy­cle rather than for a two-year spell, Sweeney said: “It makes sense doesn’t it? If you’re go­ing to go through to France 2023 it’s nice to have that un­bro­ken stretch, but both par­ties have got to be com­pletely happy with it.”

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