The former England coach had consistently denied speculation linking him with a return to the Brave Blossoms
Eddie Jones has been named as the new Japan coach just 42 days after he resigned from the Wallabies having presided over Australia’s first ever pool-stage exit at this year’s World Cup.
During the tournament in France, the Sydney Morning Herald broke the news that Jones had been interviewed for the Japan role while still employed by Rugby Australia.
He consistently denied the links and said he was focused on the Wallabies before quitting the day after the World Cup final, professing that sometimes “you have to eat s*** for others to eat caviar further down the track”.
Jones’s departure came just ten months after he signed a five-year contract which was due to take in the 2025 British and Irish Lions Tour as well as a home World Cup in 2027. A record defeat to Wales and a first loss to Fiji in 69 years sealed Australia’s fate despite wins over Georgia and surprise package Portugal as they missed out on the quarter-finals.
The JRFU has confirmed Jones’s appointment and he will begin work on New Year’s Day after agreeing what the SMH reports to be a four-year deal.
Jones’s first stint with Japan, where his mother is from, lasted from 2012 to 2015 and he famously was in charge for one of the biggest upsets the game has ever seen when the Brave Blossoms beat South Africa at the 2015 World Cup. The result inspired the film The Brighton Miracle.
Jones replaces Jamie Joseph, who has coached Japan for the last eight years after replacing the 63-year-old following the end of his first stint in charge. Joseph is returning to New Zealand and Super Rugby Pacific as the Highlanders’ head of rugby.
Joseph’s Japan failed to make the quarter-finals at France 2023 after losing a winner-takes-all clash against eventual fourth-place finishers Argentina in England’s Pool D.
After leaving Japan in 2015, Jones initially joined the Stormers before moving on almost immediately to take over from Stuart Lancaster as England head coach. He coached the side to the 2016 Grand Slam before leading them to the Rugby World Cup final in Japan, where they were defeated by South Africa in 2019.
Jones was sacked in December 2022 after another detrimental loss to the Springboks and the RFU moved to appoint his former forwards coach at both Japan and England, Steve Borthwick, as his replacement having lured him from Leicester Tigers.
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