Wallabies coach Eddie Jones is expected to interview in person for the role of Japan head coach in early November.
- Eddie Jones is reportedly set to quit as Wallabies coach after just nine months in the role.
- Jones has denied conducting an online interview with Japan Rugby ahead of the World Cup, but ABC can confirm that is what happened.
- Jones managed Japan from 2012 to 2015, before moving to England and then returning to the Wallabies in January this year.
Jones will be one of three candidates to meet with a Japanese selection panel after first-round interviews were conducted online.
As reported during the Rugby World Cup, Jones conducted a Zoom interview in August, just days before the Wallabies played their final warm-up match against France.
Jones, who coached Japan from 2012 to 2015, denied giving the interview, but ABC can confirm it took place.
After the Wallabies’ defeat to Wales, he said he was “offended” at being asked if he had applied for the job and said he would leave the post-match press conference if this series of questions continued.
Upon his return to Australia from France on Thursday evening, Jones again reiterated his commitment to Australian rugby as rumors of his departure continued to swirl.
Rugby Australia has not spoken about the rumours, although chief executive Phil Waugh said during the tournament: “Eddie has been committed for a long time.”
The Wallabies crashed out of the World Cup group stages after defeats to Fiji and Wales, marking the first time Australia has failed to qualify for the knockout stages in the history of the tournament.
The Japan Rugby Football Federation (JRFU) assumes that Jones has a clause in his contract with Rugby Australia that allows him to be released after the World Cup.
ABC understands that Jones expressed keen interest in the role, even before his online interview in August.
Jones, who also coached England from 2015 until his return to charge of the Wallabies in January, led Japan to a historic victory over South Africa at the 2015 World Cup.
Jamie Joseph, who succeeded Jones in 2016, announced in July that he would step down after the World Cup in France, where the Brave Blossoms failed to advance from a tough group including Argentina and the ‘England.
The JRFU began its approach shortly after its announcement.
Jones is understood to be the preferred candidate of JRFU president Masato Tsuchida, who sits on the selection panel.
Japan has been open about its ambitious plans for rugby and its desire to finance the future of the sport.
The ABC understands Jones is frustrated by the high performance model in Australia and delays in implementing Rugby Australia’s plans to move to a centralized system similar to that of Irish rugby, led by the director of performance Australian David Nucifora.
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