England Rugby have sacked head coach Eddie Jones after seven years in charge following a review of the team’s dismal form.
The move comes just nine months before he was due to lead England at another Rugby World Cup, having guided them to the final in 2019.
England forwards coach Richard Cockerill is to take charge on an interim basis, with Leicester Tigers boss Steve Borthwick tipped to be Jones’s long-term successor.
“Following a review of the Autumn Nations Series, Eddie Jones has been dismissed from the position of England Head Coach,” the Rugby Football Union said.
“The RFU will now conclude the long-term work it has been undertaking on coach succession planning with changes set to be announced in the near future. In the interim, Richard Cockerill will take over the day to day running of the men’s performance team.”
The RFU’s review panel met yesterday to consider Jones’s position after England continued their disappointing form during the Autumn Nations Series.
They won just one of four matches, against Japan, and lost at home to Argentina for the first time in 16 years.
It took England’s record for the year to just five wins and one draw from 12 Tests, their worst results since 2008.
RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said: “It is important to recognise the huge contribution Eddie has made to English rugby, winning three Six Nations Championships, one Grand Slam and taking us to a Rugby World Cup final. He has the highest win ratio of any previous England head coach and has helped develop the leadership skills of many players and coaches.
“I am grateful to Eddie for all he has done for England across many areas of the game and the professional way in which he has approached reviewing the performance of the team. He has provided the panel with astute insight and meaningful lessons that will support the team performance going forward.”
Eddie Jones said: “I am pleased with much that we have achieved as an England team and I look forward to watching the team’s performance in the future. Many of the players and I will no doubt keep in touch and I wish them all well in their future careers.”
Jones took the England job after impressing with Japan at the 2015 Rugby World Cup and his 73 per cent win rate remains better than any of his predecessors.
He won three Six Nations titles, including the Grand Slam in 2016, and led England to the Rugby World Cup final in Japan three years ago, beating New Zealand on the way.
But results have been mixed since and deteriorated further this year, while his abrasive nature has always rubbed some up the wrong way.