England rugby captain Owen Farrell has moved to distance the playing group from the Eddie Jones axing, saying the Rugby Football Union’s decision was “unbelievably disappointing.”
The RFU fired the Australian coach last week after seven years on the job and leading England to the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
But Jones won just five of 12 Tests this year, which was England’s worst statistical season since 2008.
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There have long been rumblings that players became burned out by the notoriously demanding Jones but Farrell offered his support in an interview with the BBC.
“It’s unbelievably disappointing,” said Farrell, who’s father Andy is the Ireland coach.
“Eddie had been a big part of England rugby for a long time now and he has been one of the best coaches I have ever had so, for that, I’m massively thankful.
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“We are disappointed it has finished early and we owe a lot to him. I have been around for a while now and not been around too many changes, both at club and international level. It’s not pleasant to go through.
“I don’t think it has come from the players. There is obviously stuff we all want to get better at from the results, but as players you look at yourself and see what you can do.”
Jones’ assistant, Steve Borthwick, is expected to take the reins for next year’s World Cup in France once a buyout with Leicester Tigers is agreed.
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Jones, meanwhile, is a target of Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan in what could be a sensational homecoming to work with the Wallabies.
Jones coached Australia to the final of the 2003 World Cup.
“Eddie is clearly a massive talent and campaigner in World Cups,” McLennan told the Mail on Sunday.
“We’ve got Dave Rennie in place but we need to think how we can weaponise these recent events for Australia if Eddie wants to come home… Is Australia ready for Eddie?
“He is the prodigal coaching son. For the most part, people love him.”
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