Eddie Jones has come under fire after All Blacks star Beauden Barrett revealed the extent of the England coach’s role at Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath.
Barrett has been playing for Suntory Sungoliath in the Japanese Top League during his sabbatical from Super Rugby, while Jones has worked as a consultant for the club for the past 20 years.
Revelations by Barrett about the extent of Jones’ role at club have sparked fresh attacks on the England coach, with the All Black revealing: ‘He’s in all day, so if you walk past him there’s always a conversation, a rugby conversation, whether it’s feedback or, “Did you see this?” or “Did you see that?”
‘He’s like that with all the players. He’s certainly a wealth of knowledge. He’s been around, he understands rugby, and I genuinely know he’s great for Suntory.’
English media have now hit out at Jones’ consultancy role and his dealings with Barrett, which many believe is a conflict of interest.
‘Eddie Jones has risked his commitment to England being called into question after Beauden Barrett revealed he has been working directly with the head coach at Japanese side Suntory Sungoliath,’ Chris Foy wrote in the Daily Mail.
‘Jones’ main job is to coach England to Test match wins and New Zealand, the world’s best side and back-to-back World Cup winners in 2011 and 2015, are the standard they want to reach.
‘So the RFU argument there is no issue with Jones working with the likes of Barrett in his time away from England duty is a difficult one to believe.’
In his column for the same publication, former England coach Clive Woodward wrote: ‘Has anyone got the bottle to keep Eddie Jones under control? His coaching role in Japan makes English rugby look ridiculous … he should be 100% focused on the job and can afford absolutely zero distractions.’
‘Beauden Barrett’s revelation is the latest in a raft of PR gaffes associated with the England coach during his six years in office.
‘It is impossible to imagine the New Zealand union allowing Steve Hansen during his tenure as All Blacks head coach the scope to come to England and pass on tips to Owen Farrell. The Kiwis guard their intellectual property with Fort Knox zeal,’ Cleary wrote.
The outcry about Jones’ ties to Suntory has resulted in the England Rugby Football Union issuing a statement saying: ‘Eddie has had a consultancy agreement with Suntory for over 20 years.
‘We have been aware and comfortable with that since he joined the RFU. He provides consultancy in his holidays and this role is in no way a conflict with his England team priorities.’
Jones has close links to Japan – he has a Japanese mother and Japanese wife, had two stints as Suntory’s head coach and coached Japan at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He also has a coaching consultancy role with Major League Rugby club San Diego Union in America.
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