Eddie Jones 'committed' as England head coach until 2021, says RFU CEO Bill Sweeney
Last Updated: 03/11/19 11:23am
Eddie Jones is “committed” to seeing out his contract as England head coach until 2021, says Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive Bill Sweeney.
The Australian said it was "not the time to discuss" his future in the post in the immediate aftermath of England's 32-12 defeat against South Africa in the World Cup final on Saturday in Yokohama.
Jones has a contract to remain in charge until 2021 after he signed a two-year extension in January 2018.
"He has been very clear [with us]," Sweeney told Sky Sports News.
"We had that conversation before coming out to Japan and we had that conversation here. He is committed to seeing out his contract to 2021 and I will take him at his word for that.
"We will wait for the dust to settle on this and we will have another chat about what that means."
Sweeney described Jones as a "dedicated perfectionist" and insisted he would have the resources to rebuild towards the 2023 World Cup in France.
Jones suffered his second defeat in a World Cup final as a head coach, having lost against England in 2003 when in charge of Australia, and Sweeney is convinced the 59-year-old will not perform a u-turn on his position.
What next for Eddie Jones?
Head coach Eddie Jones faces a decision about his England future after the 32-12 World Cup final defeat against South Africa.
"He is an honourable person and if he is not committed to something he would not give you his word on it," Sweeney, who was appointed RFU CEO in February, added.
"He said he is honouring his contract to 2021 so we believe him on that. As far as I am concerned that is that done."
Jones is set to remain in his post until halfway through the next World Cup cycle under the current deal and Sweeney said discussions would be held over whether the former Japan boss might remain in charge for a full four-year period.
"The World Cups are critical moments. But again, he is contracted until 2021 and no further at the moment so we will just sit down and have a chat," said Sweeney, who was previously chief executive of the British Olympic Association.
England scrum coach Neal Hatley decided to leave international rugby to return to Bath after the World Cup and there is uncertainty over the futures of other members of Jones' backroom team, including forwards coach Steve Borthwick.
"There has been a lot of rumour and speculation around Steve [being] linked with a number of clubs. I haven't spoken to him about it," said Sweeney.
"We didn't want any distraction from the World Cup at this stage. He has now been involved for five, six months [in succession] with this squad.
"He probably needs to go home, sit down with his family [and] talk about what he wants to do. Even if he was to go somewhere else that doesn't necessarily mean he is lost to the system.
"There is always a way to come back and it might be a good thing. We will worry about that when we get home."
England failed to progress past the pool stage at their home World Cup in 2015 and Sweeney admitted the RFU had come through a "really painful period" and the "scar" left by their early exit to enjoy a successful campaign.
The 2003 World Cup champions came top of their group before they defeated Australia and two-time defending champions New Zealand to reach the final but Sweeney admitted it had been a missed opportunity.
It will be painful for a while in terms of the talent of that squad, the fact that it is an opportunity that hasn't been capitalised on
Bill Sweeney, RFU chief executive
"It is water under the bridge. You can't change things. It will be painful for a while in terms of the talent of that squad, the fact that it is an opportunity that hasn't been capitalised on.
"But we have got to get over that and we have got to turn that around into [how] we can get better and use this as inspiration."
Maro Itoje described the defeat against the Springboks as one of the most painful experiences of his life but Sweeney is confident in the 25-year-old's ability to overcome the disappointment ahead of the England squad challenging for a first Six Nations title since 2017 early next year.
"[Itoje] is a unique individual. He is a very smart guy," Sweeney said.
"I don't know anyone in life whose aspirations and plans always go perfectly. You always get a setback at some point.
"I have no doubt that he will turn this into, 'right, how do I go forward from this and come back stronger than ever before?'"