Why IS Eddie Jones giving advice to England’s rivals AGAIN? After the Six Nations horror show, head coach heads to Japan to work with Suntory Sungoliath – whose players include Australia’s Samu Kerevi and New Zealand’s Damian McKenzie
- Eddie Jones has worked with Suntory Sungoliath in two previous full-time posts
- Jones has gone back and worked with the Japanese side while England coach
- Pressure is mounting on England head coach Eddie Jones after the Six Nations
- England finished third in this year’s Six Nations in a campaign of disappointment
- England won two matches and lost three for the second-straight Six Nations
Eddie Jones has again risked the wrath of irate England fans following a disappointing Six Nations after it was revealed he is currently in Japan coaching with Suntory Sungoliath.
Jones led England to just two wins for the second successive Championship campaign earlier this year as his team was beaten by Scotland, Ireland and France.
The 62-year-old has still received full backing from his Rugby Football Union bosses to continue through to next year’s World Cup. Jones has held a consultancy role with Japanese side Suntory – a team he coached in 1997 and between 2009 and 2012 – for more than 20 years and is working with them again this month.
England head coach Eddie Jones is back working with Japanese side Suntory Sungoliath
Jones coached Suntory Sungoliath in 1997 and between 2009 and 2012 (pictured in 2012)
It once more raises questions over a conflict of interest for Jones given Australian centre Samu Kerevi and New Zealand’s Damian McKenzie are in the Suntory squad.
The RFU have previously made it clear they have no issue with Jones working with Suntory.
‘Eddie is over here at the moment helping us out. He is hard at work to be honest. He’s not having a holiday here, that’s for sure,’ said Suntory and former Georgia head coach Milton Haig.
‘He’s running a few drills for us around our breakdowns and doing a lot of talking to the young players. He is taking two sessions today with the younger guys.
‘That’s something he really enjoys and the players have a huge amount of respect for him. It has been interesting because you can see the intensity steps up because everyone wants to impress him.
‘He’s fantastic. He shares his knowledge with the players and he has spent a lot of time off the field talking to the coaches. He’s very open with the coaches. We are very appreciative we have got a guy as our director of rugby who is so open to sharing his knowledge and experience.’
Samu Kerevi (left) and Damian McKenzie are two internationals that play for the Japanese side
Asked if Jones had been left bruised by England’s poor Six Nations, Haig added: ‘No, I don’t think so.
‘He has come in, like Eddie always does, as a ball of energy. His first question is what he can do to help. Those were his first words to me. It’s probably a chance for him to get out of the goldfish bowl and relax and give something back to a club he’s had a long affiliation with.
‘In the long run, he’s a rugby man and he loves rugby. It’s as simple as that really. If a guy stopped him in London and wanted to talk a bit of footy, he’d probably stand there for five minutes and chat to him. That’s the type of guy he is.’
Last year, New Zealand star Beauden Barrett revealed he had benefitted from working directly with Jones when he was at Suntory. Jones is now doing likewise with Kerevi – a man he will come up against when England travel to Australia for a three-Test series that summer.
Suntory head coach Milton Haig has revealed Jones is ‘running drills around our breakdowns’
Defending Jones’ presence in Japan, when he could be watching his England stars in Champions Cup action this weekend, Haig added: ‘They probably won’t like it he (Jones) is talking to Samu and Damian at the moment. It’s a storm in a teacup. I think he enjoys coming back.
‘His wife is obviously from Japan and I think he just likes coming back and relaxing, getting out of that goldfish bowl, and giving back to the game. Ultimately, that’s what he is doing.
‘He is not doing it because he wants money or praise, he is doing it because he has a long affiliation with the club and he wants to see the club progress. I think he gets a kick out of just helping out really and having no expectations. That’s probably a bit of rest for him in itself.
‘When he’s involved with England he is pretty busy doing those campaigns. We always send him our footage and our stats after games and he’ll comment if he feels it necessary.
‘If I need some advice I might ask for an opinion. We just make the most of him when he comes to Japan and he has got a clear head to help us. That’s when we have the most communication.’
England lost three matches during this year’s Six Nations for the second season in a row
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