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Eddie Jones looking for "new thoughts and ideas" in England coaching reshuffle

Published 14/12/2015

Andy Farrell, pictured, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt are losing their roles as assistant coaches with England.
Andy Farrell, pictured, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt are losing their roles as assistant coaches with England.

Eddie Jones has declared it a time for "new thoughts and new ideas" after making the first major move of his England coaching reign.

Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt are to leave their positions as England assistant coaches, the Rugby Football Union announced on Monday.

It follows Stuart Lancaster's exit as head coach last month after England recently became the first host nation in Rugby World Cup's 28-year history not to reach the knockout phase.

Australian Jones took charge as Lancaster's successor earlier this month, and it is expected that current Saracens defence and forwards coach Paul Gustard and ex-England captain Steve Borthwick will join a new-look coaching support team.

As part of Lancaster's set-up, Farrell, Rowntree and Catt - all England internationals - coached England to 22 victories in 36 Tests, with the highlight being a Twickenham win against world champions New Zealand in 2012.

But this year's World Cup campaign was a miserable failure, as England suffered pool stage defeats against Wales and Australia that destroyed any hope of them securing a quarter-final place.

Lancaster left within a fortnight of the tournament finishing, with Jones appointed shortly afterwards. The departures of three such experienced figures represent the first key moment of his reign, arriving just 54 days before England's RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield.

"Going forward, taking over the side with a short period of time, we've had some coaches in place and they've done a fantastic job for England for a period of time," Jones told ERTV.

"Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree, Mike Catt, they are outstanding coaches, but I just feel at this stage that for England we need to have some new thoughts and new ideas come in.

"And that's why I've decided to let those three coaches go.

"But I think England Rugby are very grateful for their contributions, and I am sure that in the future they are going to keep contributing in a different way to England Rugby.

"Obviously, one of the most unpleasant things to do is to let people go. You try to give the people due course, due process.

"I obviously spoke to a lot of people about what's happened with England, got different views, from players, administrators and other coaches.

"I spoke to those coaches individually as well, and I just felt it was in the interests of the team to move on.

"Having met with all of the coaches to talk through the future direction, we felt it was the right time to make changes.

"On behalf of the players that have benefited from their coaching and the RFU, I wish them the very best for the future."

Jones also offered a major hint about his assistant coaching blueprint.

Asked what he wanted from people he brings in, Jones added: "I think guys that can work with me, that understand my philosophy of play, that can add to my philosophy of play and can add to England going forward."

Gustard is considering an offer to be one of Jones' assistants, while current Bristol forwards coach Borthwick is also thought to be firmly on the radar.

Saracens rugby director Mark McCall revealed after his team's 45-10 European Champions Cup victory over French club Oyonnax on Sunday that 39-year-old Gustard had been offered an assistant coach's role with England.

McCall said: "Paul has been made an offer to become an assistant coach with England.

"He is considering the offer, and I'm sure there will be some dealings between the RFU and ourselves over the next 24-48 hours.

"When there is anything more to add we will announce in due course."

Gustard has been an integral part of Saracens' success under McCall, including winning the Aviva Premiership title last season and being a consistent force in Europe.

He played for Leicester during the 1990s, making almost 100 appearances for the Tigers and featuring during the 2001 European Cup final victory against Stade Francais in Paris.

Gustard left Leicester in 2002 to join London Irish, making 98 appearances in four years for the Exiles, then headed to Saracens, where he moved into coaching after his playing days ended.

Borthwick, meanwhile, was Jones' right-hand man with Japan during the World Cup in September and October, plotting three pool stage victories, including a stunning 34-32 success against South Africa in Brighton.

Former Wigan rugby league star Farrell became an England assistant coach in 2011 and, together with forwards specialist Rowntree, was part of the 2013 British and Irish Lions coaching staff under Warren Gatland that claimed a Test series-winning triumph against Australia.

Former Leicester prop Rowntree joined the England coaching set-up in 2008, initially working with Lancaster's predecessor Martin Johnson, while former Bath and London Irish back Catt took up an England skills coach role in 2012.

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