England to keep Jones amid RA "sniffing"

Duncan Bech
Coach Eddie Jones (C) isn't going anywhere, England's Rugby Football Union have confirmed

England have warned Australia off "sniffing around" coach Eddie Jones by confirming he will remain with them until at least 2021, and possibly beyond, on the back of his performance at the Rugby World Cup.

Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney wants the Australian mentor to see out his contract and hinted at the prospect of a new deal being agreed that will keep him in charge for France 2023.

England were overrun 32-12 by South Africa in Saturday's World Cup final but dismantled Australia and New Zealand en route to reaching the Yokohama showpiece.

Jones has also masterminded one grand slam and a Six Nations title since replacing Stuart Lancaster at the end of 2015 and Sweeney still views him as the outstanding candidate for the job.

"Eddie's one of the world's best coaches - if not the best - despite the result against South Africa," Sweeney said on Sunday.

"One of the first priorities when we get back will be to sit down and have a chat. We will do it as a matter of urgency.

"Eddie is committed to his contract through to the end of August 2021 and he is fulfilling that.

"There are a lot of emotions flying around after a game so let the dust settle a little bit and then see where his head's at, see how he feels about it.

"But the first step is to honour that contract through to 2021 and then we'll discuss what goes on beyond that."

When asked about the wisdom of appointing a coach for an entire World Cup cycle rather than for a two-year spell, Sweeney said: "It makes sense doesn't it?

"If you're going to go through to France 2023 it's nice to have that unbroken stretch, but both parties have got to be completely happy with it.

"We just need to sit down when we get back, have a couple bottles of red wine and chat about where it goes."

Jones is on the radars of Australia and Fiji but it is the former that could push the most emotive buttons after the 59-year-old spent four years coaching the Wallabies until he was sacked in 2005.

Michael Cheika stepped down after Australia's quarter-final loss and there is a sense of unfinished business between Jones and the 1991 and 1999 champions.

"When you're in Eddie's position, you're going to have people sniffing around and you can imagine the story Australia would put together," Sweeney said.

"We can only control our relationship with him and we can only control what we will wrap around him to enable us to perform at our best."

Sweeney is convinced there is growth left in the Jones regime following his success in guiding a nation that was knocked of the 2015 World Cup at the group stage into the final four years later.

"Yeah, I do think so. He's done a fantastic job with this squad - look where we were at the last tournament," he said.

"I don't think those scars will ever go from not getting out of the group but look what he's done to bring the team here and some of the risks he's taken.

"He's unearthed some fantastic players who have huge careers ahead with England. He gets on well with that squad, he's committed to England rugby, so he's got an awful lot more to offer yet."