London – World Cup winner Will Greenwood is prepared to assist Eddie Jones on England’s tour of Australia after seeing first hand the new head coach at work during the team’s Six Nations Grand Slam campaign.
Former England centre Greenwood is these days best known as a television pundit and newspaper columnist.
But he is also becoming increasingly involved in coaching and on Wednesday it was announced he would join up with former Australia boss Robbie Deans to help prepare the Barbarians for the invitational side’s match against South Africa, third at last year’s World Cup in England, at London’s Wembley Stadium on November 5.
It was also on Wednesday that the 43-year-old Greenwood, revealed that Jones had brought him into the current squad’s training camp during their run to the Grand Slam this season — the first time England had completed a Six Nations clean sweep since 2003 when Greenwood was also a member of the team that went on to win that year’s World Cup.
“I spent a little bit of time in camp,” Greenwood said. “I tried to be under the radar, but I was at Pennyhill (England’s training base in Bagshot southwest of London). I would rather Eddie answered what I did there.
“But Eddie Jones is brilliant. I’ve seen him operate. Going to Australia with him as a backs coach if it was him doing it in a small, tight-knit group?,” pondered Greenwood.
“If Eddie felt as though he wanted some advice he would ask for it. But I would have no hesitation having watched how he operates,” he added, having also played against teams coached by the Australian, including the Wallaby side beaten in the 2003 World Cup final.
Greenwood’s regular coaching commitments currently extend no further than a couple of sessions a week with local amateur club side Maidenhead, southwest of London, and children’s rugby programmes.
“At the moment I genuinely see myself as a Tuesday and Thursday-nighter (coach) at Maidenhead,” said Greenwood.
“I enjoy being out on a rugby field coaching young people. I have no five-year plan to take over from Eddie Jones when he finishes.”
He added: “I loved (being at the England camp), but I followed that up four hours later on the 4G pitch at Maidenhead, and I loved that.”
In a playing career that saw him win 55 England caps, as well as two for the British and Irish Lions, Greenwood was renowned for his skill in timing a pass and an ability to find space on the field.
These are skills he is enjoying passing on to the next generation of players, despite a modest coaching CV.
“I’m not a recognised coach in any way, shape or form,” he said.
“At the highest level my coaching experience is zero. But being on a field with a ball trying to identify space to an eight-year-old, or a 23-year-old down at Maidenhead, I do all the time.”