Eddie Jones prepares to take the England job amid mixed reviews
England are set to appoint Eddie Jones as their new head coach amid a warning from Dean Ryan that the Australian is a figure who "polarises opinion" after compiling a chequered CV.
Jones has travelled to London for talks with the Rugby Football Union and with the level of compensation for his release from his Stormers contract believed to have been negotiated, the 55-year-old's appointment is seemingly imminent.
The Cape Town-based Stormers are seeking "final clarity on the situation", but have called a briefing for Friday morning during which they are expected to confirm his departure.
In a further development, former South Africa coach Jake White ruled himself out of contention to fill any position at Twickenham after declaring his future belongs to Montpellier.
Reports state the RFU is ready to create a director of rugby role and that White had been identified as a suitable fit, but the 52-year-old insisted on Thursday that he is to remain in the Top 14.
"It's important for the club, players and atmosphere to remove the doubt. I told the president I wanted to stay here," said White, who stated last week that he was interested in succeeding Stuart Lancaster.
One appointment which looks certain is Jones'.
While Australia captain Stephen Moore and veteran South Africa lock Bakkies Botha, who have both worked under Jones, hailed the Australian's vision and meticulous preparation, Ryan offers an alternative view.
Ryan, Worcester's director of rugby, points out that a lengthy CV that includes spells with the Wallabies, Springboks, Saracens, Brumbies and Reds shows as many failures as successes and demanded that if appointed, he grooms a prominent Englishman as his successor.
"Jones certainly comes with a CV packed with trophies and plaudits, yet the ups are often mirrored by some pretty difficult-to-ignore slumps," Ryan said in his column for The Guardian.
"Unsurprisingly given this record, the message I hear from inside the game is that he polarises opinion. Depending on who you speak to, you hear he was fantastic or he was horrendous. There's very little in between.
"We should not be throwing all our eggs into the basket of Eddie Jones. We should be looking at using his skills to put English rugby into a strong position, and that will involve getting an English coach ready to take over.
"His big challenge must be to convince a number one from the Premiership to be his number two. There has to be the responsibility to develop an England head coach for the future. English rugby needs to use Jones, not allow him to use us."
Ryan is also scathing of RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie, who has led the search for Lancaster's replacement after the Cumbrian stepped down last week. Ritchie has said the successful candidate must have "proven international experience".
"Jones is the beneficiary of the apparent determination by Ritchie to narrow the field as much as he can by insisting on international experience, rather than simply trying to find the best man possible for the job," Ryan said.
"Ritchie has forced himself into a corner thanks to his lack of experience and understanding of what a good coach is, so he has had to go for someone with historic success to protect himself."
Moore, who led Australia to last month's World Cup final via a record 33-13 victory over England, has a more positive outlook after backing the credentials of a man who gave him his first cap 10 years ago.
"Eddie is very thorough and always brings a lot of attention to detail," said Moore, speaking ahead of Saturday's clash between the Barbarians and Argentina at Twickenham.
"Eddie's like a global citizen. He's coached all around the world. He's a very professional guy and he won't see nationality as an issue at all. He'll have an idea of how he'll want England to play.
Jones was brought in to strengthen South Africa's coaching team for the 2007 World Cup, playing an advisory role during a campaign that finished with the Springboks lifting the Webb Ellis Cup for the second time.
Bakkies Botha, a seasoned international with 85 caps whop played throughout France 2007, believes he would be a wise appointment.
"Eddie played a bigger role in 2007 than people realise," said Botha, who will be making his final appearance in any form of rugby at Twickenham on Saturday.
"If Eddie is appointed it will be a good step and a positive step forward for England. If it happens, the Stormers' loss will be England's gain. He will definitely be a success. He knows what he wants."