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PA England head coach Eddie Jones.
# Under Pressure
Eddie Jones to learn England fate next week after RFU review
Jones is fighting for his future as head coach after presiding over England’s worst year since 2008.

LAST UPDATE | Dec 2nd 2022, 2:53 PM

EDDIE JONES WILL learn if he is to continue as England head coach next week with the Rugby Football Union’s review into a dismal autumn set to conclude on Tuesday.

Jones is fighting for his future after presiding over England’s worst year since 2008, consisting of six defeats, a draw and five wins and ending with Saturday’s chastening loss to South Africa.

The inquest had been scheduled to take two weeks, but the PA news agency understands that Jones’ final meeting with the review panel will be held on Monday with the RFU’s board convening the following day to ratify its decision.

A public announcement will be made in midweek, revealing whether the Australian is to continue until the World Cup when his eight-year reign is contracted to end or if the RFU is to appoint an alternative.

Jones’ position has never been more precarious, with former Wales and Lions boss Warren Gatland seen as the frontrunner to replace him if the RFU does decide to act.

Gatland is in demand, however, as Wales weigh up the future of their own head coach Wayne Pivac.

Leicester’s Steve Borthwick and Scott Robertson of the Crusaders are seen as credible replacements, but parachuting either of them into the crisis that has engulfed England would be risky.

Ronan O’Gara, the La Rochelle head coach, was an option but the former Ireland fly-half ruled himself out of contention on Friday having revealed that early-stage talks were held with the RFU.

Elsewhere Jones has hit back at “sad” critic Sir Clive Woodward and insisted he will leave England in a good shape when he eventually departs.

Woodward, who masterminded England’s solitary World Cup win 19 years ago, was yet again fierce in his criticism of Jones on Sunday – labelling rugby in this country as a shambles and insisting the weekend defeat was “one of the most depressing games I’ve seen at HQ.”

“I feel sad for him (Woodward). If that is the best thing he has to do in his life, then he hasn’t a lot to do,” Jones, who had already agreed to step down after the 2023 World Cup in France, told Men’s Health UK.

“I’m 62 now and I think in pure coaching terms I am coaching better than I ever have. Results aren’t always perfect, but I’m happy with how I have been coaching.

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“After this, I want to do something really meaningful. I’ve enjoyed England a lot, it was a bit of a rescue job at the start, now rebuilding, and I am confident I will leave things in good shape.”

England were booed off at Twickenham after defeat to the Springboks. Scotland, Ireland, France, Australia, Argentina and South Africa have all beaten the World Cup runners-up during the past 12 months but Jones believes they can still be a force at next year’s tournament.

Jones added: “If this was the Cheltenham Gold Cup, there’s a pack of four out front – France, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand – and we are fifth, right behind them, right on the rails.

“A good position, provided we keep improving. Australia are there or thereabouts with us. It’s going to be the closest World Cup ever. France and Ireland are the in-form teams right now, but things will change.”

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