Jones to leave Saracens

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The Independent Online

Saracens have confirmed that Eddie Jones will step down as Director of Rugby at the end of the current season, just one season into a three-year deal.

Jones will be replaced by former South African international and ex-London Irish director of rugby Brendan Venter, with effect from July 1, 2009.

Venter is currently coaching at Super 14 franchise the Stormers.

It had been rumoured earleir lastweek that Jones was growing increasingly unhappy at the growing South African influence at the club.

Saracens’ former chief executive Mark Sinderberry was recently replaced by Edward Griffiths, a South African with strong ties to SAIL, a company with a £6 million stake in the club and also major stakes in two South African Super 14 franchises, the Bulls and Venter’s Stormers.

Jones first worked at Sarries as a consultant in 2006 before returning in a similar role last season, then taking the reigns after the departure of Alan Gaffney. The Australian insisted his reasons were “entirely personal” for stepping down.

“My wife and daughter have always given me unqualified support but it is now time for me to put the family needs first. I have greatly enjoyed my time with Saracens extending back to 2006 and I wish the directors, staff and players well in the future.”

Nigel Wray, chairman, said: “Obviously we are all very disappointed to lose Eddie, but we are very grateful for all his hard work, inspiration and the terrific structural changes he has made at the club, which will hold us in great stead for the future. I know that we will all remain friends and keep in close contact”.

Wray added: “Brendan has an outstanding knowledge of the Guinness Premiership, following his success as coach at London Irish, and he has become well known and well respected at Saracens during the course of this season, after being introduced and recommended by Eddie as a specialist coach. We warmly welcome him to the club on a full-time basis.”