Eddie Jones aims to go one step beyond
Eddie Jones is confident he can push England from runners-up to world champions after signing up for another shot at the biggest prize in rugby union.
Jones’ future as head coach has been the subject of speculation ever since his side were defeated by South Africa in the final of last year’s tournament in Japan.
His previous contract was set to expire next summer but with both parties eager to extend, a new deal until the conclusion of the 2023 World Cup in France has been agreed.
Jones has never been shy about setting a high bar in the job, frequently talking about creating a team to rank alongside the greatest of all time and a style that will live long in the memory, but there is one tangible measure of success: the Webb Ellis trophy.
England fell at the last hurdle in Yokohama last year, but that has not dulled the Australian’s ambition.
“We want to become one of those teams where people remember how you play for a period of time, that’s the ache I have as a coach,” he said.
“The test of greatness is to do it consistently. With that comes results. If we’re the greatest team then a World Cup medal is probably sitting in front of us.
“Our goal hasn’t changed at all from what I stated at the start of this cycle and it will continue to be the same.
“I want a team that plays the perfect game of rugby and I want a team that can be remembered as a great team.
“I think we’ve got players within England to do that. I think the players have the hunger to do it. I think we’re seeing periods of time where they have done it but we haven’t been able to do it consistently.”
Jones clearly shares the same desire he sees in his squad, another three-year project at the age of 60 would not be possible otherwise.
But would that still have been the case had England defeated the Springboks in Yokohama? Victory on the grandest stage may have sent him looking for fresh challenges, but that is a scenario he has not considered.
“That’s a hypothetical. We didn’t beat South Africa in the final so I don’t have that experience to borrow,” he said.
“To me it’s a question that I don’t really think about. We weren’t good enough to beat South Africa in the final and therefore I’m in this situation now where I have got that hunger. I can’t really think of it any other way.”
Jones will doubtless look at all manner of players as he looks to find the perfect formula over the next three years, and he has vowed to apply the same principles to his own backroom team.
Simon Amor and Matt Proudfoot joined John Mitchell among Jones’ group of assistant coaches ahead of the paused Six Nations campaign, with Jason Ryles replacing Steve Borthwick following his appointment as Leicester’s head coach.
Jones refused to rule out further changes, focusing instead on raising standards across the board.
“That’s all up for debate. We’ve got to make sure we’ve got the right coaching team going forward,” he said.
“Coaching teams are exactly the same as a rugby team, you’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right coherence.
“Certainly the Six Nations was a good start but we’ve got to keep assessing and keep looking to see how we can improve the coaching team, as we do with the team that actually takes the field.”