‘Happy in Europe’ Jones rules out replacing Cheika as Wallabies coach

SYDNEY – England coach Eddie Jones has ruled himself out of replacing the Wallabies’ Michael Cheika after this year’s World Cup, saying Australia needs “generational change”.

Cheika’s contract as head coach is due to run out later this year with the hunt for a successor under way.

Jones, an Australian, has been widely touted as a potential replacement, but he told the Sydney Morning Herald Friday that he wanted to stay in Europe.

"I am happy in Europe,” said the 59-year-old, who was in charge of the Wallabies at the 2003 World Cup. “The Wallabies need a generational change in culture.”

The newspaper said he could instead take on a role with an emerging nation, such as Georgia or Germany, in a bid to repeat the success he had with Japan in the lead-up to the 2015 World Cup.

Jones is under contract until 2021, but reportedly has a break clause that allows him and the Rugby Football Union to part ways if England fail to reach the semi-finals.

With Jones seemingly out of the running, Wales coach Warren Gatland and Glasgow coach Dave Rennie are seen as the frontrunners.

Jones’ revelation comes with Australia’s new director of rugby Scott Johnson reportedly ruffling feathers with an aggressive pitch to bring home some of the country’s top overseas-based coaches, officials and support staff.

The Herald said he had approached Fiji’s strength and conditioning guru John Pryor and unsuccessfully tried to lure attack coach Scott Wisemantel, who is working with Jones at England.

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I’m happy in Europe, says England head coach Eddie Jones. Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Johnson, who was recruited to the newly-created role from a similar position with Scotland following mounting criticism of Cheika after just four wins from 13 Tests in 2018, assumed his job last week.

He insisted his relationship with Cheika would be “dynamic”.

“You’re going to get times where we disagree and that’s fine. If you always agree you’ve got one too many, haven’t you?” he said.

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

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