With Eddie Jones given the boot by the Rugby Football Union yesterday, attention quickly turned to who could take over one of the biggest coaching jobs in world rugby. While many of the favourites are shackled in coaching jobs with other teams, there’s no doubt England will do all they can to get the man they want for the job. Here are some of the runners and riders for the vacancy.
Leicester Tigers boss Steve Borthwick is the favourite to take the reins at Twickenham. The 43-year-old took an underperforming Leicester and turned them into domestic champions within 18 months. He has experience of how the England set up works and will be one of the best-placed coaches for a period of transition given he was Jones’s assistant in Japan.
The interim day-to-day runner of the England set-up Richard Cockerill could impress in his role and continue in the job – in a similar vein to England football manager Gareth Southgate. Cockerill is notoriously tough and his hardline approach could be just what England need to get into shape ahead of the Six Nations in February.
He may be contracted to New Zealand Rugby but Scott Robertson has been spending a lot of time in the British Isles of late – he has been a key part of the Barbarians coaching set up and has toured a number of English Premiership sides. Though it will cost England to release him from his contract Down Under, he would be a figure that could revolutionise England given their player pool.
Retired and then non retired and then retired again Wayne Smith would be an outside bet for the job given he’s adamant his coaching days are behind him but the Kiwi – who many see as one of the greatest coaches in the professional era – recently took the Black Ferns to World Cup glory with just months in preparation.
The producer of so much of the talent in England at the moment – both coaching and playing – Mark McCall would be one of the best appointments for the head coach role, or at least director of rugby. His knowledge of the English system and ability to consistently produce with Saracens make him a natural option to take over at Twickenham.