London (AFP) - Ireland rugby great Ronan O'Gara ruled himself out Friday of the running to replace under-pressure England coach Eddie Jones.
The veteran Australian boss' position is in the balance after last Saturday's decisive defeat by world champions South Africa meant he had presided over six defeats in 12 Tests in 2022 -- England's worst year since 2008.
Jones is due to step down after next year's World Cup in France.
But his employers at the Rugby Football Union are now conducting a review that could see an announcement about whether he leaves early or stays put as soon as next week.
Former Ireland fly-half O'Gara, 45, had been tipped as a possible successor after guiding La Rochelle to the European Champions Cup title last season.
But he insisted he wanted to stay at the French club, with O'Gara, in a column for the Irish Examiner, writing: "La Rochelle are keen for me to stay and I am extremely happy to do so."
O'Gara said he did not want to mess La Rochelle around, adding: "That's why I asked the RFU to remove me from any putative list of head coach options."
Former Wales coach Warren Gatland has been tipped as a short-term successor to Jones, with the aim of taking England through to the World Cup.
Gatland has also been linked to an emergency return to Wales after a dire 2022 under successor Wayne Pivac where the team lost nine of their 12 Tests.
Leicester boss Steve Borthwick, a former England captain, and Kiwi coach Scott Robertson, are among those touted as contenders for the England role.
Jones took charge of England after the hosts suffered an embarrassing group-stage exit at the 2015 World Cup.
The former Australia and Japan boss guided England all the way to the 2019 final in Japan only for the Springboks to triumph 32-12.
But after an Autumn Nations which featured just one win, over Japan, as well as defeats by Argentina and South Africa and a remarkable draw with New Zealand in a match the All Blacks dominated for 70 minutes, Jones' future is now more uncertain than at any stage in his England tenure.
His position was not helped when Jones' longtime media advisor, David Pembroke, described RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney as "slippery" while accusing the Twickenham supremo of leaking stories to the media.
Pembroke has since apologised for remarks made on Wednesday in a newspaper website's comments section.
Boos rang out at Twickenham following the 27-13 defeat by the Springboks, with Clive Woodward, England's 2003 World Cup-winning coach, saying the reverse summed up the "total shambles" of modern-day English rugby.
But Jones, the coach of the Australia team beaten in the 2003 World Cup final by England, hit back by telling Men's Health UK: "I feel sad for him (Woodward).If that is the best thing he has to do in his life, then he hasn't a lot to do.
"I'm 62 now and I think in pure coaching terms I am coaching better than I ever have."