Former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones says he would “definitely be interested” in the Japan position following his controversial exit from the Australian side. It comes after Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan stated he would be “bitterly disappointed” if the links between Jones and Japan, which the former coach vigorously denied, turned out to be true.
Jones previously coached Japan between 2012 and 2015 and has been linked to the vacant position. He angrily denied that he had interviewed with Japan during his final weeks at the helm of the Wallabies. It has been reported by the SMH that he is set to have a second interview with the Brave Blossoms next month.
The former Wallabies coach spoke to Japanese media upon arriving in Tokyo on Monday, telling Kyodo News: “I’ve had no offer, let’s be clear. “If they (Japan) came to me and said, ‘Are you interested in coaching them?’ I’d definitely be interested.”
Rumours swirled that Jones had met with Japan officials before the recent Rugby World Cup, but Jones has denied on multiple occasions conducting a Zoom interview with Japanese Rugby or having any plan to interview with them.
“Japan can’t stay where they are because if they stay where they are, they’ll actually start to slide. So they’ve got to make a big push now,” Jones said.
“You’re going to have to be courageous and you’re going to have to do things differently. You can’t just go along and do what you’re doing now. So that’s the reason I would be interested.”
The Wallabies’ search for their next coach is well and truly underway but Rugby Australia are still licking their wounds from the Jones exit. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to see all the facts (about Jones’ exit),” McLennan told Stan Sport.
“If it’s true, I’d be bitterly disappointed knowing the faith and the support that we’d been given the entire coaching crew and the Wallabies. I’ve spoken to his (Jones’) agent about it. He claims he’s got nothing to go to and he’s been quite adamant about that and I’ve read his press reports … I take that on face value.
“I think in the near future I might be able to learn more about what happened. Certainly the Herald believe there is absolute truth in that. I think in the fullness of time we will find out what’s happened.”
Eddie Jones says Wallabies exit was mutually agreed
Jones said it was written into his deal that either he or RA could pull the pin if certain "conditions weren't met" within the first 12 months. The veteran coach stressed that he did want to continue with the Wallabies but said RA couldn't guarantee the necessary resources he needed to drive significant change.
The former coach said while he wanted to remain in the Wallabies role, it was mutually agreed with RA that he would step aside after just 10 months.
The RA CEO said foreign coaches such as outgoing All Blacks boss Ian Foster are being considered for the Wallabies job. World Cup winner Stephen Larkham and fellow former Wallabies assistant Dan McKellar are also viewed as front-runners for the role.
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