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Lewis Moody: I'd love to see Exeter coach Rob Baxter involved with England

Published 30/11/2015

Lawrence Dallaglio believes England should appoint home-grown coaches like Rob Baxter, pictured, alongside Eddie Jones
Lawrence Dallaglio believes England should appoint home-grown coaches like Rob Baxter, pictured, alongside Eddie Jones

Lewis Moody expects Eddie Jones to appoint the lieutenants who served him well with Japan when selecting his England coaching team, but believes Exeter's Rob Baxter must be given a role.

Jones officially begins work at Twickenham on Tuesday after agreeing a four-year contract to become Stuart Lancaster's successor in the wake of the recent World Cup disaster.

Topping the Australian's agenda will be speaking to Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt to see if the assistants under Lancaster, who remain employed by the Rugby Football Union, have any future.

They are likely to depart, leaving Jones to recruit a new staff that former England captain Moody believes will be based around Steve Borthwick and Leigh Jones, who were his forwards and defence coaches with Japan.

But Moody insists they should be joined by Baxter, who has defied the odds by guiding Exeter into the Aviva Premiership and establishing them as a force with top-four ambitions.

"The most pressing issue is deciding who the coaching team will be," said Moody, speaking at the launch of NatWest RugbyForce.

"I imagine that in the back of his head Eddie will have done that already, he just needs to go out and get them.

"He needs to let the current coaches know where they stand. Like any leader, you tend to bring in the people you trust, so I imagine that means Borthwick and Jones.

"He'll want those guys and it will be about whether they're able to get out of their current deals.

"But I'd love to see Rob involved, I like everything he stands for at Exeter where he has done so much despite having fairly scarce financial backing.

"He's developed something really strong down there and he might not want to step away from it.

"Certainly having a Premiership coach who has some real pedigree is important.

"They'd understand the cultural differences and would be able to work better with the clubs. It keeps everything grounded and near to home."

Once Jones has appointed his assistants, his next task will be to examine the captaincy and decide if Chris Robshaw should be retained - as skipper and flanker.

Robshaw has been tainted by England's failure to progress from the pool stage of the World Cup and Jones has already stated that he does not view him as a genuine openside, but there could be a role for him in the number six jersey.

Moody believes Robshaw will be relieved of the captaincy but must be selected in the next elite player squad announced in January.

"I do see a change being made because Eddie will want someone who he can trust," Moody said.

"I hope Chris Robshaw is retained in the next EPS squad. It would be incredibly harsh after everything he's done to cast him to the side.

"Chris was asked to fill a roll, he stepped in as captain when many said he wasn't an international standard back row. He made the most of that opportunity, so you can only respect him for that."

* Lewis Moody is a NatWest RugbyForce 2016 ambassador, encouraging rugby clubs to enter for the opportunity to attend free workshops, receive financial support and pitch maintenance sessions from the RFU's head groundsman Keith Kent. Register at www.englandrugby.com/natwestrugbyforce

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