Eddie Jones refutes claims of discussing coaching position with Japan prior to World Cup.

Eddie Jones admitted he “felt terrible” about Australia’s lack of success in the World Cup but claimed he had no remorse for the process that led him to return as the Japan head coach after stepping down from his position with the Wallabies.

During a press conference on Thursday, the 63-year-old faced additional inquiries regarding how and when he initially made contact with the Japanese Rugby Football Union to replace Jamie Joseph. He had previously denied reports about contact with the JRFU that emerged during the World Cup.

The former England coach Jones stated that he did not interview for the job until this month. He mentioned that a Zoom meeting with recruiters on August 25th, before the start of the World Cup, was to discuss his previous experience in the Japan job from 2012 to 2015, in order to assist them in their search.

“I did not have an interview before the World Cup,” the Australian stated. “I was requested by the recruitment agency to share my experiences. The first interview I had with Japan was in December, and that is the only interview I have had.”

Jones returned to the Australia job in January of this year, signing a contract that was intended to continue until the 2027 World Cup. However, after a disappointing World Cup performance where Australia was eliminated in the first round for the first time in their history, he utilized a break clause to depart for Japan.

“With Australia, I signed for five years and we had a plan to guide them through two World Cups,” remarked Jones. “There were changes that needed to be made in Australia to alter the system we had. I agreed on a plan with the chairman regarding what needed to be done. They needed financial support to bring about those changes.

“After one year, there was a break in my contract with Australia Rugby regarding their ability to fulfill those commitments. I felt that without them being able to fulfill those commitments, we would not be able to develop talent to its fullest extent. Therefore, I decided I wanted to move on.”

When asked if he needed to apologize to Australia fans, Jones said: “I gave everything I could during that short period of time, and it was not enough… I wish Australia all the best.

“I feel terrible about the results in Australia. I wanted to go back and bring about change in Australia, so I feel awful. However, I do not feel any guilt about this process. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, which I cannot control. All I can control is my actions, and I am content with that. If people feel that way, it is their judgment, and I cannot control it.”

Meanwhile, Rob Baxter, boss of Exeter, insists that the restriction on selecting overseas-based players must remain, even though Henry Arundell may not be available for England until 2026.

Arundell has extended his contract with Racing 92 for two years after rejecting a move to Bath that would have included one of the Rugby Football Union’s 25 “hybrid contracts”.

This means that the most exciting talent in English rugby, who scored five tries in the World Cup match against Chile in September, is off-limits to Steve Borthwick for over two years.

Arundell’s decision has brought attention to the RFU’s rule that only players competing in the Gallagher Premiership can be considered. However, Baxter insists that this rule is necessary for a thriving league.

“How can we promote our league as being at a very high standard if we are open to the best players playing outside the country?” said the director of rugby for the Chiefs. “This will not help promote the Premiership, and without promoting the Premiership, I do not think we will have a successful England side. The best way to keep young players in this country is by letting them know that staying here provides them with the greatest opportunity to play international rugby.”

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