Jones backing White to take England role

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The Independent Online

Jake White, fresh from winning the World Cup with South Africa, would form the perfect coaching partnership with Brian Ashton, believes Eddie Jones. With a gold medal for his part in helping South Africa win the 2007 tournament and silver for guiding Australia to runners-up in 2003, Jones can let his achievements do the talking for him. So the Australian's views on the ideal match-up for the England management/coaching structure for the next four years make for intriguing reading.

Jones, who was a key partner for White in France this autumn, was asked whether the former Springboks coach was keen to get back into coaching as soon as possible . "Oh yes, there's no doubt about that" said his pal Jones. "He definitely wants to coach again at the earliest moment. But it has got to be the right opportunity."

Jones knows where that would be in an ideal world. He feels the combination of White as manager with Ashton as senior coach would be a powerful force for England as they move forward towards 2011. England, he said, would be a good fit for Jake White.

Through his role at Saracens, Jones has seen the young talent emerging throughout English rugby and is highly enthusiastic about its potential. But he regards Ashton as a pure coach, not a man who likes handling the other duties of a head guy, such as dealing with the media.

"Brian shies away from the media and that was one of the things that hurt England early on in the World Cup," said Jones. "You had assistant coaches making comments that were pretty ordinary for the team. That is where you need your manager or director of rugby, to make sure they manage the media.

"It would definitely work putting Jake and Brian together. They do that in soccer, structuring it in that particular way and it is successful. There is no reason why it wouldn't work in international rugby. Brian would look after what happens on the field, Jake could handle everything off it. A lot of English rugby clubs work like that, anyway."

Jones believes that White leaving after the World Cup was the right thing to do. "You can't spend six or seven years with a big country, coaching just one team," he said. "It's too long because the pressure tends to get to you."

Alan Black, the Rugby Football Union official who struck a Wasps player with a match programme during Saturday's Heineken Cup tie against Clermont Auvergne has been banned from Premiership or home England games for the rest of the season.

In other weekend fall-out, France's centre Yannick Jauzion is doubtful for their Six Nations opener against Scotland in February after fracturing his hand in Toulouse's Heineken Cup win over Leicester on Sunday. And Jamie Cudmore, the Clermont Auvergne flanker, has been cited for an alleged punch on the Wasps prop Tim Payne, while the Perpignan prop Perry Freshwater has been cited for allegedly striking the London Irish flanker, Kieran Roche.