Eddie Jones is set to agree a new deal to continue coaching England through to the Rugby World Cup in France in 2023.

The 60-year-old Australian’s current contract expires in August 2021, but he has been in talks over an extension after guiding England to the World Cup final last year.

Rugby Football Union boss Bill Sweeney said in December “conversations were ongoing” over a new contract.

The RFU could make an announcement as early as Thursday.

Jones was appointed in December 2015, replacing Stuart Lancaster after a disappointing home World Cup that autumn.

He led England to a record-equalling unbeaten run, which included a Grand Slam in 2016 and a Six Nations title the year after.

The team’s form slumped in 2018, but Jones arrested the slide before the World Cup in Japan.

There, superb victories over Australia in the quarter-finals and New Zealand in the semi-finals established Jones’ men as favourites to beat South Africa in the final, but an inspired Springboks performance condemned an under-par England to a 32-12 defeat.

Concerns over the impact of that loss were exacerbated when England were beaten by France in Paris in their 2020 Six Nations opener, but they rallied with victories against Scotland, Ireland and Wales to seal the Triple Crown before the Championship was curtailed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

If Jones does lead England through to France in 2023, he will eclipse World Cup winner Sir Clive Woodward as the country’s longest-serving boss.

Jones’ win record puts him alongside Woodward as one of England’s greatest ever coaches, but successive RFU chiefs have had to reprimand him over his conduct.

Following the win over Wales at the start of March, the RFU apologised on Jones’ behalf after he suggested referee Ben O’Keefe was biased in his decision-making.

But Sweeney is clearly comfortable that the occasional controversy that surrounds Jones is a fair exchange for re-establishing England as a leading force in the global game.

England are third in the World Rugby rankings, behind South Africa and New Zealand.

Last month, Jones joined members of the RFU executive board in taking a pay reduction in excess of 25%, predominantly in the form of foregone bonuses, as a response to the financial impact of Covid-19.


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