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Outgoing Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has admitted he would “definitely be interested” in the vacant Japan head coaching role but will have to wait until next month for a second interview for the job.
In an interview with Kyodo News, Jones conceded for the first time he would be keen to take over the Japan coaching role after his original stint leading the Brave Blossoms from 2012 to 2015.
“I’ve had no offer, let’s be clear,” Jones told Kyodo News after arriving in Japan for a holiday with his wife. “If they [Japan] came to me and said, ‘Are you interested in coaching them?’ I’d definitely be interested.”
This masthead revealed during the recent World Cup that Jones had taken part in a secret interview with the Japan Rugby Football Union in August while in camp with the Wallabies in France.
Eddie Jones at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Monday.Credit: Sports Hochi
Jones, who resigned from his Wallabies job late last month after less than 10 months in the role, has consistently denied taking part in the Zoom interview on August 25 or having any plan to attend a second interview with the JRFU.
This masthead revealed in September that Jones was set to take part in a second interview in Tokyo this month with a panel of JRFU officials.
However, a source with knowledge of the situation, speaking anonymously due to the confidential nature of the information, told this masthead that Jones’s second interview had now been delayed until December.
Jones is one of three candidates vying for the role vacated by Jamie Joseph. Another is South African Frans Ludeke, who coaches the Kubota Spears in Japan.
In an interview with the Herald’s Peter FitzSimons last month, before he tendered his resignation, Jones said he intended to travel directly to the Japanese island of Okinawa for a week-long holiday with his wife.
On arriving at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Monday, he was greeted by local media who took photos and asked questions of the coach who presided over two wins from nine Tests while in charge of the Wallabies this year.
Eddie Jones at his press conference after Australia’s 40-6 loss to Wales.Credit: Getty
“I don’t know what the future holds and I can’t talk about the future,” Jones told local reporters.
Jones, who is still being paid by Rugby Australia until November 25, then made his way from Tokyo to Yokohama, where he conducted an interview with Kyodo News.
After confirming his interest in the Japan role should he be offered it, Jones said: “Japan can’t stay where they are because if they stay where they are, they’ll actually start to slide. So they’ve got to make a big push now.
“You’re going to have to be courageous and you’re going to have to do things differently. You can’t just go along and do what you’re doing now. So that’s the reason I would be interested.”
As the fallout continues from Australia’s diabolical World Cup campaign, RA chairman Hamish McLennan said he would be “bitterly disappointed” if Jones’ Japan links were proven correct.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to see all the facts,” McLennan told Stan Sport’s Nick McArdle in a wide-ranging interview broadcast on the platform on Wednesday. “If it’s true, I’d be bitterly disappointed knowing the faith and the support that we’d been given the entire coaching crew and the Wallabies.
“I’ve spoken to his [Jones’] agent about it. He claims he’s got nothing to go to and he’s been quite adamant about that and I’ve read his press reports … I take that on face value.
“I think in the near future I might be able to learn more about what happened. Certainly the Herald believe there is absolute truth in that. I think in the fullness of time we will find out what’s happened.”
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