Jones content to wait on post-England future amid Australia reports

By Sports Desk December 11, 2022

Eddie Jones says his next step will be "the right job at the right time" following his England exit, as rumours of a return to the Australia national set-up rumble on.

The coach was dismissed on the back of a frustrating 2022, less than a year out from the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

As England move to find his successor, with Leicester Tigers boss Steve Borthwick considered the frontrunner, talk has swirled over Jones potentially linking up with the Wallabies.

The 62-year-old however is happy to wait on his future, having also mooted a cross-code switch to rugby league, and suggests he will not rush into a decision.

"Everyone knows I love a scrap, and I'm up for whatever challenge is next," he told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I'm open to looking at everything in rugby, and I've made no secret of my wish to give the NRL a go, too.

"Nothing is off the table. Nothing. It's all about the right job at the right time, and I'll look at it all."

Reflecting on his departure, Jones acknowledged his pride for his England achievements, while stressing he will not adapt to please his cynics.

"In this job I've learnt it's impossible to avoid being moved on," he added. "It comes with the gig. But I'm proud of what we accomplished in my time here, and I wish I had the opportunity to finish what I started.

"All the critics are having their say. My only response is that I have coached a certain way my whole career and I'm happy with that. I'm not about to change anything."

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan confirmed he had contacted Jones on Saturday, but refused to disclose what he had discussed with him.

Jones previously led his home country between 2001 and 2005, and was in charge when they lost the 2003 Rugby World Cup final to England.

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    Gareth Southgate will likely leave England with his last game as the Euro 2024 final defeat, according to former Three Lions talisman Alan Shearer.

    England suffered another European Championship heartbreak on Sunday, falling to Mikel Oyarzbal's 86th-minute winner in Berlin as Spain snatched a deserved 2-1 victory.

    Southgate's side are the first side in history to lose consecutive Euros finals, while the England manager is the first boss to ever suffer defeat in two European Championship showpieces.

    With Southgate's current contract ending in December, speculation remains rife over his future with reports linking Eddie Howe, Graham Potter and Mauricio Pochettino as potential replacements.

    Shearer, a former England team-mate of Southgate, believes the Spain defeat may mark his last at the helm of the national side.

    "My guess is – and it is only a guess – he may now say to someone else that it is their turn to try to get England over the line," Shearer wrote in his BBC Sport column.

    "If he does, then he has put the team in an excellent position for someone to take the team forward, to take that next step and win a major tournament."

    Southgate transformed England's fortunes, steadying the ship to take them to unprecedented ground in the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 and the Euros finals in back-to-back editions.

    "Gareth came in and put a smile on everyone's faces – bringing the squad together," the former Newcastle United striker added.

    "He put the team in a much better position mentally and the spirit he nurtured helped us get to the final again.

    "For achieving all of those things he deserves a huge amount of respect and gratitude, but it's just unfortunate that – for all his excellent work – Gareth just wasn't quite able to get the best out of this team in Germany, and that was the difference between us reaching another final and winning one."

    With the World Cup to follow in 2026, a new era may await England, who must bounce back once more after another setback on the biggest stage.

    Regardless of who takes charge in that tournament, Shearer insists Southgate should be proud of his achievements.

    "Gareth will be hurting like hell after what happened in Berlin but my feeling is that, when the dust settles on the final of Euro 2024, he will decide he's had enough," Southgate's Euro 1996 team-mate said.

    "It should be his decision to stay or go – and I think it will be – but it is a tiring job and he has been doing it for a long time.

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    England were deservedly beaten 2-1 by Spain in Sunday's Berlin showpiece, with Mikel Oyarzabal scoring the winner after Cole Palmer cancelled out Nico Williams' opener.

    The Three Lions struggled for control throughout the game, enjoying just 34.9% of the possession as Spain accumulated 1.77 expected goals (xG) to their 0.55.

    It was a familiar sinking feeling for Southgate, who was also criticised for England's failure to maintain control when leading against Croatia in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

    England lost possession 98 times in total and completed only 66.5% of passes in Spain's half, with only Luke Shaw and Bukayo Saka completing over 90% of their passes among the Three Lions' starters.

    Despite Southgate facing criticism once more, former defender Carragher refused to lay blame at the manager's door, saying England's best players failed to show up.

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    "The fact is our big players didn't turn up in this tournament. And at other tournaments going back years.

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    The Three Lions were eyeing another rescue act when substitute Cole Palmer cancelled out Nico Williams' opener, but La Roja came on strong in the dying moments and Oyarzabal turned home Marc Cucurella's pinpoint cross with four minutes left.

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    England made an unwanted piece of history with Sunday's defeat as they became the first team in history to lose back-to-back European Championship finals.

    Gareth Southgate, meanwhile, became the first manager to oversee two final defeats in the competition.

    The Three Lions made a solid start as both teams struggled to carve out chances in the opening period, but they fell behind just 69 seconds into the second half, Williams pouncing on Yamal's pass to finish across Jordan Pickford.

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    The second-youngest player to achieve that feat is Bukayo Saka, who also made his 15th appearance in this match (22 years, 313 days).

    However, England then relinquished control of the game and fell behind again as Oyarzabal turned Cucurella's low delivery home. Oyarzabal has now scored 12 goals for Spain and nine of them have come as a substitute, including his last five in a row. 

    He is the fourth substitute to score the winner in a European Championship final, after Oliver Bierhoff for Germany in 1996, David Trezeguet for France in 2000 and Eder for Portugal in 2016.

    England were unable to respond in the dying moments as Spain made it seven wins from as many matches at Euro 2024.

    They are the first European nation to win seven matches at a major international tournament (Euros/World Cup) and just the second overall, along with Brazil at the 2002 World Cup. 

    La Roja scored 15 goals at Euro 2024, the most by any nation at a single tournament in the history of the Euros.

    England's wait to follow up their 1966 World Cup triumph, meanwhile, drags on.

    This was their 45th match at the Euros, 19 more than any other nation has played without lifting the trophy (Belgium are second with 26).

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