British & Irish Lions

Eddie Jones agrees new England contract until 2023 RWC

Eddie Jones (Getty Images)
Eddie Jones (Getty Images)

Eddie Jones has signed a two-year extension to his contract as England coach that will see him remain in charge of the side until the end of the 2023 World Cup in France, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced on Thursday.

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The 60-year-old Australian took charge following hosts England's first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.

His current deal expires in 2021 but talks have been ongoing about an extension since Jones guided England to last year's World Cup final in Japan, where they were beaten by South Africa.

Jones's new contract means he is set to become England's longest-serving head coach, surpassing the eight-year stint of Clive Woodward - in charge of the team that won the 2003 World Cup final when they defeated an Australia side coached by Jones.

"I never thought coming here four years ago I would be doing a second four years but the circumstances are right," said Jones.

Jones added the challenge of making England the "best team in the world" by going one better than they did in Japan at the next World Cup had inspired him to remain in the post.

"I am excited about raising the standards again," he said. "We have a great team. We set out four years ago to be the best team in the world and unfortunately we missed that by 80 minutes.

"Now we want to be the team that is remembered as being the greatest team the game has ever seen. It's a big ambition but I believe we are capable of doing it. 

"We have players with an enhanced reputation, we have a team that is expected to do well, so it's a great opportunity for us to keep moving forward."

Acknowledging the impact of the coronavirus outbreak that has led to the suspension of major sport worldwide, and saw him take a 25 percent pay cut this month, Jones said: "The extension is a great honour for me, but in the current environment, it is only right to acknowledge what a difficult time the world is facing.  

"We are all looking forward to a time when we can get back to playing rugby and use the sport as a force for good in bringing people back together."

Jones has guided England to two Six Nations titles - including the 2016 Grand Slam - and his side are currently top of this season's edition, with one match to play after this month's entire last round was postponed due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

Last year's World Cup also saw the former Japan boss in charge of one of England's greatest victories, a 19-7 semi-final win over holders New Zealand, only for his side to lose 32-12 to the Springboks in the final.  

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said he was glad the governing body could provide some "good news" in "exceptionally difficult times" for both the country and within the rugby community.

"We are delighted that Eddie will continue as head coach to run England's campaign to take us to the 2023 Rugby World Cup. His record since joining speaks for itself and he has proven why he is one of the best coaches in world rugby," added Sweeney, who said the impact of the coronavirus had delayed the announcement of Jones's extension by a few weeks as the governing body tried to aid the wider game.

"The progress shown by England since 2015 has been indisputable and having fielded the youngest-ever team to play in a World Cup final, we know even more growth is possible."

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