Eddie Jones (Gallo Images)
London – Outgoing Brave Blossoms coach Eddie Jones has warned Japan to pick the right man to succeed him and avoid making the same mistake as the Rugby Football Union (RFU), who put “rookie coach” Stuart Lancaster in charge of England.
Jones guided Japan to a stunning Rugby World Cup triumph over the Springboks in September as the Brave Blossoms became the first team to bow out of the tournament after winning three pool games when they finished behind South Africa and Scotland.
The 55-year-old Australian, who coached the Wallabies from 2001-05, is quitting international rugby to take over as head coach of South African franchise the Stormers for the 2016 Super Rugby season.
England’s World Cup ended in disappointment, with the home side’s failure to emerge from the pool stages the subject of an RFU review by a five-member panel chaired by the governing body’s chief executive, Ian Ritchie.
Jones, speaking at his final news conference as Japan coach, blamed the RFU for England’s dismal campaign and, in particular, the decision to appoint Lancaster as head coach.
“You know, England pick a rookie coach to coach a home team at a World Cup. When you’re a home team, the pressure on that coach is enormous,” Jones told the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.
His advice for Japan, who will host the next World Cup in 2019, is to pick a coach with impeccable credentials and the required experience at the top level of the sport.
“You need a guy that’s got experience, has been through the loop, understands how to manage his team in that quite hostile environment. Because it is when you’re the home team.
“Every union that’s successful, every national team that’s successful, has a guy that’s experienced, has a guy that understands rugby. And unless you have that, they’re non-negotiables.
“The non-negotiables are simple and the unions that falter are the unions that don’t follow those non-negotiables like England.
“The next four years for Japanese rugby is just so important, it’s not just a blip for Japanese rugby, it becomes the start of what can be another growth period for Japanese rugby,” he added.