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England may be open to possibility of Eddie Jones staying beyond 2019 World Cup

Published 27/09/2016

England head coach Eddie Jones is due to step down after the 2019 World Cup
England head coach Eddie Jones is due to step down after the 2019 World Cup

England could be open to the possibility of Eddie Jones staying beyond the 2019 World Cup and are willing to look overseas once again if the Australian does step down.

While there have been no discussions with Jones over his future once his four-year contract has expired, the Rugby Football Union has already turned its attention towards succession planning.

The mastermind of nine straight victories in a flawless record at the helm intends "watching cricket in Barbados" once Japan 2019 is over and upon his appointment last November declared that grooming an English successor is a "fundamental" part of his role.

However, if no suitable candidate emerges, both scenarios of extending Jones' tenure and recruiting from overseas will be considered by RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie.

"Eddie's contract ending in 2019 is certainly the discussion that we had, but it's up to him. Who can tell what happens over the next three years or so?" Ritchie said.

"I'm working on the assumption of 2019 because that's what we did the deal on in the first place.

"As it moves and develops, no doubt we'll sit down and discuss it together. I do think it's early doors.

"I think when we get nearer to it, and it depends on how he sees it, if he's changed his mind, and whether we want to ask.

"When Eddie came in there was a discussion about his assistants being English and we've got to get a situation of better integrated coach development.

"We'll be happy if there is an English coach who stands up to that. If we haven't, we'll need to go back to someone with proven international experience."

Nigel Melville, the RFU's director for professional rugby who left his post at USA Rugby to work at Twickenham, highlights the importance of looking overseas if there are no suitable domestic candidates.

"In America we always wanted to have an American coach in charge of the American team," he said.

"When we did he was very good for the environment but he wasn't necessarily good for our rugby and we had to bring in an international coach.

"We'd love our coaches to be English if they're good enough. We've got to give them the right education and opportunity."

Meanwhile, Ritchie has sounded a note of defiance to cash-strapped southern hemisphere heavyweights New Zealand, South Africa and Australia wanting a share of the profits when they play at Twickenham.

Reports state that the All Blacks have demanded half of the matchday revenue generated - in the region of £6million - in order to play England during the autumn, but Ritchie has responded by declaring "build your own stadium".

"When we went down there for the three Test matches in June, we got no money at all," Ritchie said.

"They get the gate money and TV money and that's the same for Lions tours as well, so I'm not sure that I get this argument.

"I didn't ask for a revenue share from Australia. And ditto from the Lions, so I don't see why there is a particularly strong case for arguing the other way.

"If we manage to sell out 82,000 at Twickenham because of our efforts and because we've invested in the stadium, that's something we've rightly invested in.

"If you look at the amount of money the RFU has spent on Twickenham since it was conceived, well then of course we should get a return on that.

"Of course they would say they want more money. There is nothing to stop Australia or New Zealand building a stadium - go and build a stadium if you want to increase your revenue growth.

"We've all been through it - Wales, Ireland and Scotland too. You incur some debt in stadium build and then you reap the benefits of that."

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