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Monday Dec 11, 2023

Eddie Jones indeed set for a comeback as Japanese rugby's head coach

In a rather unsurprising turn of events, former England and Australia rugby head coach Eddie Jones is set to be on the verge of a second stint as Japan’s national team coach per reports from Fox Sports Australia.

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Despite vehemently denying any connection to the role for several months, it seems Jones is on the brink of accepting the position left vacant by Jamie Joseph after the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The speculation gained traction when Joseph officially announced his decision to step down as Japan’s head coach after the upcoming World Cup, prompting discussions about his potential successor. Unsurprisingly, Eddie Jones emerged as a frontrunner for the role, given his previous tenure with the team from 2012 to 2015.

Reports surfaced suggesting that Jones engaged in an online meeting with the Japan Rugby Football Union just before the World Cup in France, despite being at the helm of the Australian team at the time. The coach consistently denied the occurrence of such an interview, but the rumours persisted.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup turned out to be a challenging chapter for Jones, as his bold selection decisions led to Australia’s historic failure to advance past the pool stage for the first time.

Following the disappointing campaign, Jones resigned from his post, concluding his second tenure with a meagre 22% win rate in less than a year.

Despite the setback, Jones maintains strong connections with Japan, both through his Japanese wife and his mother, who is Japanese-Australian.

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Additionally, his enduring association with Suntory Sungoliath as an advisor has solidified his presence in the country’s rugby landscape.

Jones’s previous leadership of the Brave Blossoms is etched in rugby history, particularly the memorable victory against the Springboks in the 2015 World Cup, aptly named ‘The Miracle of Brighton.’

This iconic win has made Jones a favourite for the coaching role, with reports suggesting that the appointment is set to be officially confirmed next week, pending approval from the union’s board, as reported by sports newspaper Sponichi.

If confirmed, Jones’s return would see him take the helm of a third national team since 2022.

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