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England next head coach should be English, said Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney.

Eddie Jones (Australian) has a contract to the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup but is under pressure after successive disappointing Six Nations campaigns.

Sweeney’s focus on homegrown coaches would rule out former Wales coach Warren Gatland or ex-South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus as Jones’ successor.

“The preference would be to have an English set-up,” said Sweeney.

“We believe we’ve got such a wealth of English coaches in the game. As a leading rugby nation we should be developing English coaches and an English style of play.”

The RFU is already exploring who might step up to the national team role and aims to have secured a new management team by summer 2023 to enable a smooth handover from Jones.

Sweeney says that the next head coach will not necessarily have previous international experience, opening the door for an approach for Rob Baxter, whose contract with Exeter expires in 2023.

Leicester’s Steve Borthwick, who worked as forwards coach under Jones for four years, and Richard Cockerill, who fills the same role currently, are also contenders.

Jones was the first overseas appointment as England head coach. Since his arrival in early 2016, he has led the team to three Six Nations titles and a Rugby World Cup runners-up finish at Japan 2019.

Sweeney has defended the decision to stand by Jones, insisting England are heading in the right direction despite indifferent performances and poor results recently.


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