Felix Jones. Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Irish Abroad

Ex-Ireland international Felix Jones to leave Springboks and join England

The former Munster man will link up with Steve Borthwick after the World Cup.

FORMER IRELAND INTERNATIONAL Felix Jones will join England’s coaching staff after this year’s World Cup.

South Africa have confirmed that ex-Munster man Jones will leave their set-up at the end of this year when his contract expires in order to link up with England head coach Steve Borthwick’s staff.

Jones has been with the Springboks since 2019 and was a key part of their World Cup success that year, as well as the series victory against the Lions in 2021.

The Dublin man had previously been Munster’s attack coach but decided to turn down a contract extension offer from the province and leave in 2019.

South African players have repeatedly spoken about Jones’ influence in their set-up ever since, with the Irishman working closely with fellow former Munster coaches Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber.

Borthwick took over as England boss after Eddie Jones was sacked in January and has been working hard to put together his coaching staff since.

Ex-Leicester boss Borthwick has already signed assistant coaches Kevin Sinfield and Richard Wigglesworth, as well as conditioning expert Aled Walters [another former Munster coach], from the Tigers. Jones worked with Walters in the Springboks set-up before the latter’s move to Leicester.

Jones will hope to end his time in the Springboks set-up by helping them to defend their World Cup crown in France later this year. The Irishman indicated that his young family was the main consideration in his decision to make the move.

“Coaching the Springboks is one of the biggest privileges in rugby and I intend to do everything I can to ensure the team is successful until the day my contract comes to its natural end,” said Jones.

“The last four years has been an incredible journey for me and my family, both professionally and personally, I am indebted to so many people at the Springboks and in South Africa for that.

“My commitment to the Springboks until the end of the Rugby World Cup is unquestionable, and Rassie, Jacques and the entire Springbok team know that.

“The next five months are going to be exciting and demanding, and I’m looking forward to preparing for the World Cup with this coaching team.”

Erasmus said that the Springboks were upset to lose Jones to England and highlighted how big an influence he has for them.

“It’s a big loss for the Springboks to lose a coach of Felix’ calibre,” said Erasmus.

“While we are saddened by the decision, we know how difficult it was for him to make that call and we fully understand the reasons. He’s been an asset to the Springboks in the last few years and the way he has evolved in his role and willingly took on additional responsibilities to ensure that the team functioned as optimally as possible in his areas of expertise, has been admirable.

“We know Felix will remain fully committed to the Springboks’ cause and give everything as we attempt to defend our Rugby World Cup title in France, and hopefully we can make it a special and memorable send-off for him later this year.”

England have not confirmed Jones’ exact role when he joins later this year, but Borthwick expressed his pleasure at signing him.

“Our immediate focus is on preparation for the Rugby World Cup 2023,” said Borthwick. “We are continuing to build our programme to be in a position to compete to be world champions once again.

“At the same time, I also want to ensure we are preparing for long term success for this England team and I am excited that a coach as talented as Felix is joining next year.
“Felix has been competing at the top of world rugby during his four years with South Africa and will bring invaluable experience to our set up. Like with Aled Walters, Felix was an integral part of the team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2019.”

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