Ruthless Jones axes Rowntree, Catt and Farrell as overhaul of England's backroom team continues

Ross McLean
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England head coach Eddie Jones has accelerated the overhaul of his backroom team by severing ties with predecessor Stuart Lancaster’s trusted assistants Graham Rowntree, Andy Farrell and Mike Catt yesterday.

Rowntree, Farrell and Catt belatedly followed Lancaster out of the Twickenham exit to become the latest casualties of England’s ill-fated World Cup campaign, during which they became the first ever host nation to suffer a group-stage exit.

The writing had appeared on the wall for the trio ever since Lancaster’s departure last month but more so since Saracens boss Mark McCall confirmed on Sunday that his defence and forwards coach Paul Gustard had been approached by Jones.

“Having met with all of the coaches to talk through the future direction, we felt it was the right time to make changes,” said Jones, who became England’s first foreign head coach when he agreed a four-year deal in November.

“They are all experienced guys and have contributed greatly to this England team over recent years and I know everyone at the Union is appreciative of their hard work and commitment.

“On behalf of the players that have benefited from their coaching and the RFU, I wish them the very best for the future.”

Former England skipper and current Bristol forwards coach Steve Borthwick, who worked alongside Jones at the World Cup with Japan, has been widely tipped to join the Australian in his new-look coaching set-up.

“I’m looking for guys that can work with me, that understand my philosophy of play, that can add to my philosophy of play and can add to England going forward,” added Jones.

Under Lancaster’s command, Rowntree, Farrell and Catt coached England to 22 wins in 36 Tests, with victory over world champions New Zealand at Twickenham during 2012 a highlight.

Farrell had been England backs coach since 2012, and also worked as assistant coach for the British and Irish Lions in 2013, while Catt became backs coach and then skills coach later that year. Rowntree had been involved with the senior England set-up since 2008.