MIKE BROWN: England must arrange Eddie Jones’s contract, because all the noise about the head coach’s future hurts the team
- It is frustrating because the RFU could rule out all the noise about its future
- Jones, who led England to the World Cup Final, has a deal until August 2021
- If Eddie is the man of the RFU, then extend his contract to the 2023 World Cup
One thing that is inevitable when you are in the English camp is the outside noise. You sit around for dinner, take a quick look at your phone and something is wrong. A few years ago it was Sam Burgess, then the Ben Te’o incident and now it is the future of Eddie Jones.
Part of the sound can be prevented and part of it cannot be prevented. What is frustrating here is that the RFU can rule out all the noise around Eddie’s future by making a decision about his contract.
The audience asks, “Is he staying?”, “Is he going?” Every time there is a poor performance, people will say, “It’s because Eddie might leave next year, bla, bla, bla.”
Eddie Jones, who led England to the World Cup Final last year, has a deal until August 2021
It is impossible for the players not to hear these things. It’s a distraction. In the past, you simply couldn’t get a newspaper or avoid the sports news on TV. These days it’s all on social media. And if you don’t go on social media, you’ll probably hear about it in a WhatsApp message. Players talk. Behind closed doors they will say, “So is he staying?”, “Is he going?” You want clarity as a player because you want to know what you are working with.
If Eddie is the man of the RFU, give him a contract until the next World Cup today. If he isn’t their husband or doesn’t want to stay, then change things now. Changing coaches halfway through the world cup cycle is not ideal. If Eddie just wants to see these two years, then that doesn’t really work for the players. Players are human. If you think your boss is leaving, are standards going backwards? That happened in Manchester United when they thought Sir Alex Ferguson was leaving.
People will say that South Africa had made a switch with Rassie Erasmus before the last world championship, but at the time they were having a hard time. The time is already ticking. Half of the team will be gone with the Lions next summer and then before you know it you will be a year away from the next World Cup.
After the game in Scotland, social media were filled with rumors that Erasmus might replace Eddie next year. There were even people who called for him to be fired by France immediately after the defeat. Noises like this would not even occur if Eddie had a four-year contract. Take away the doubt and lose the noise. Get it cleared up. Job done.
All the noise about the future of head coach Jones, England, hurts the team
Farrell can still be a man for England
It will be a funny feeling to see Andy Farrell and Mike Catt in the out-coach box at Twickenham next week, but I’m not surprised that they both came back to the top.
In addition to Stuart Lancaster in Leinster and Graham Rowntree in Munster, all four English coaches started working in Ireland from 2015 onwards. In a strange way, our implosion in 2015 has been to the advantage of Ireland. There is no doubt that all those coaches are better for that experience.
After Catty was told that he was not being held, he called me and we talked for more than an hour about what went wrong. He wanted feedback from players so that he could become better as a coach.
Andy Farrell was always destined for a head coach despite his setback with England
Lanny was guaranteed to do well in the right role. He was probably in the wrong job with England. He has always been a great coach, which he has shown with Leinster. But with England he had a role as a rugby, so he spent more time on things like the media than on coaching.
As for Farrell, he was always destined for a position as head coach. He is a great character who inspired boys in the way he talks. I’m sure they would all have worked well under Eddie, but it was essential to be released after 2015 because there was so much luggage. Because he was associated with that campaign, which was such a disaster, Eddie just had to start over. John Kingston came in to Harlequins and kept all coaches out of loyalty and we got worse.
Maybe someday we’ll see one again with England. Who knows? It is difficult because they may be too proud to return to a trade union that let them go. If you get fired from your job at HSBC, start killing it at Lloyds … you’re not going to run back to HSBC if they want you back, do you?
But maybe they still have an emotional bond. People talk about having an English coach one day and they all tick that. It would be a great boost for the English game. But above all, people want a winner. The football team has Gareth Southgate, but if they don’t win, people don’t say “Oh, but he’s English and he buys his suits at Marks and Spencer.”
So it will be interesting to see how they are doing. I’m pretty sure they will do well. They will be with Ireland for the next cycle, but who knows what will happen next?