England coach Eddie Jones has dropped a heavy hint he had been approached by Racing 92 as speculation grows that he could join the French club following next year’s Rugby World Cup.
The 62-year-old’s current contract expires after the tournament in France with Jones making it clear that will be the end of his England reign, which started after the 2015 World Cup.
“The only thing I am worried about is England until the Rugby World Cup,” Jones said on Tuesday after announcing a training squad ahead of England’s tour of his native Australia.
“But, obviously, people ask you questions and if you reply it becomes a huge story.
“Maybe there has been a telephone conversation. Sometimes I don’t handle those things, other people handle it for you. I’m a rugby coach and I love coaching, and I still feel like I have plenty to contribute.”
Racing rugby director Laurent Travers admitted that an agent had been in touch but denied that the club had had any direct contact with Jones.
“I swear to you. I have never spoken to him. Not me. Nor the president,” Travers said. “No [personal] interview nor over the phone. It’s much too early.
“A French agent spoke to us about it. He told us that he [Jones] was interested. But I replied that it was not on the agenda and that we would see later.
“We have had plenty of phone calls from all over the world, including France, but I guarantee you that it is absolutely false.
“If we take someone, he has to discuss with me, with the president, and he has to correspond with the needs of the club.”
Jones steered the Brumbies to the 2001 Super Rugby title before being appointed head coach of Australia, taking the Wallabies to the 2003 World Cup final.
He has not coached full time at club level since working with Suntory Sungoliath in Japan from 2009 to 2012.
Top 14 side Racing 92 were knocked out of the Champions Cup by French rivals La Rochelle in last weekend’s semi-finals and have yet to win European club rugby’s premier competition.
It is six years since they last won the Top 14, despite spending heavily on a star-studded squad that includes France centre Gael Fickou and Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell.
© Agence France-Presse