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Alex King: Eddie Jones meeting was not about a job in the England set-up

Published 06/01/2016

Alex King insists his meeting with Eddie Jones, pictured, was not a job interview
Alex King insists his meeting with Eddie Jones, pictured, was not a job interview

Alex King has insisted he was never offered a role in England's new-look coaching set-up under Eddie Jones.

King claimed him joining England's ranks was "never going to happen", despite Northampton boss Jim Mallinder previously decrying an unofficial approach for Saints' assistant coach.

Rugby director Mallinder hit out at the Rugby Football Union for leaving Northampton "in the dark" over an unofficial approach for King in December - but now King is adamant the entire incident was overblown.

"I just think there's been so much speculation about me having a conversation with Eddie that everyone's assumed something that was never going to happen," said King.

"Eddie spoke to a few people and he's made his decision to stick with his three coaches going into the Six Nations, and he'll run the attack.

"And that's it. There's nothing more to it."

King's assertion that Jones was never interested in bringing him into the revamped England set-up all but confirms the new head coach has now finished his recruitment.

Former Australia boss Jones is expected to take charge of England's attack himself, with Ian Peel handling scrum affairs for the Six Nations, and Paul Gustard and Steve Borthwick completing the line-up.

"Seriously, it was just a conversation on rugby," said King of his recent meeting with Jones.

"He's gone around all the clubs and spoken to a lot of coaches, and for some reason people speculated and came up with a story.

"Well that probably makes it less like a job offer because it was just an informal chat about rugby.

"I think if it had been anything more we would have gone down a different route, but as far as I'm concerned he's made a decision, he's going to run the attack and I move on to Leicester on Saturday, which is all my focus (is on)."

Dylan Hartley has been tipped as new boss Jones' favourite for the England captaincy, and King backed the Northampton hooker's candidacy.

King believes Hartley now has the chance to put his lengthy disciplinary problems behind him, after the ban that cost him his World Cup place took his career suspensions to 54 weeks.

"I've got no doubt that if he was given that role (captain) he would make a success of it," said King of Hartley.

"He's a great player and he's got a few games coming up now before the Six Nations to put his case forward.

"There's a lot of competition for that England hooker place but it will drive him on to be the best he can be.

"Dylan is a great leader. I'm looking forward to seeing how he plays in the next few weeks and hopefully he'll put in the performances that will get him noticed."

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