Former England rugby coach Eddie Jones has said he felt his sacking was “coming” but that he “wouldn’t do anything differently”, in his first UK interview since his departure.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Jones also revealed he is in talks with other countries about coaching their national teams. The Australian, 62, was dismissed by England earlier this month after a poor run of form.
Jones said he could feel the mood change from his bosses at the RFU during England’s matches in the autumn. England finished with a heavy loss to South Africa, as the team suffered its worst calendar year since 2008.
“I could feel the change in the wind. You know, when you've been coaching for a while you feel when your support is starting to wane,” Jones said, adding that he “felt it was coming” when the board sacked him.
Jones was dismissed by the RFU on December 6 who replaced him with his former assistant Steve Borthwick. Asked if he would have changed anything, Jones told the Today programme: “I wouldn't do anything differently. I was quite confident that we were on the right track, leading up to the World Cup. And I still have that belief. But if others don't share that, then that's their decision.”
In the interview with Today sports presenter Garry Richardson, Jones defended his strategy of prioritising next year’s rugby union World Cup at all costs. “The World Cup is the ultimate trophy. If you look at the football, for instance, the only team people are going to remember over the last four years is Argentina now,” he said.
Jones said he had received “at least 40 texts” from England players thanking him after his seven years in charge. “It makes me feel a bit sad now talking about it because they have a great bunch of boys,” he said. Jones took England to the rugby World Cup final in 2019, which they lost to South Africa. His win rate in his seven-year tenure was 73%, the best of any England coach.
Looking to the future, Jones said he felt he had “one more job in me” and confirmed he’s had conversations with other national rugby federations. Jones has been linked with a coaching role with Australia, and he declined to rule out such a move.
Asked if he could coach one of England’s rivals at the World Cup, he added: “It's not about coaching an England rival, it's about I want to add to the game. I love the game, I love coaching.”
The interview aired on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, December 21. The interview will also be available in the Best of Today podcast on BBC Sounds.