Rassie Erasmus won’t replace Eddie Jones as the next head coach of England as RFU chief Bill Sweeney is reportedly determined to appoint an Englishman.
Jones has a contract to the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup and, despite having the support of England’s Rugby Football Union, is under pressure after successive disappointing Six Nations campaigns.
According to reports, Sweeney is focused on rewarding homegrown coaches in the search for Jones’ successor and this would rule out former Wales coach Warren Gatland or the bookies’ favourite, SA director of rugby Erasmus.
“The preference would be to have an English set-up,” Sweeney said. “We believe we’ve got such a wealth of English coaches in the game.
“As a leading rugby nation we should be developing English coaches and an English style of play.”
The latest frontrunners for Jones’ job are Rob Baxter, whose contract with Exeter expires in 2023, and Leicester’s Steve Borthwick, who worked as forwards coach under Jones for four years, along with fellow former assistants Neal Hatley and Paul Gustard.
Current forwards coach Richard Cockerill is also being touted as a replacement.
According to the reports, the RFU decision-makers want to appoint the next England head coach before the 2023 World Cup. Conor O’Shea, the RFU director of performance rugby, said that the successful candidate could be part of Jones’s staff at the World Cup in France to ease their transition.
“The plan will be to appoint that coach before summer 2023,” O’Shea said. “Whether that’s embedding them into the programme or taking a helicopter view, that’s a discussion to be had.
“We have so many top English coaches who are in a great position. Eddie has worked with Steve, Neal [Hatley], Gussy [Paul Gustard]. You look across the Premiership and then you see the quality of people overseas. I want them to be English and I believe it should be.”