RWC 2015: Eddie Jones says 'lack of ambition' in Japan forcing him to quit

Man of the moment reveals he’s leaving post after World Cup as country is 'unable to take next step'

Chris Hewett
Monday 21 September 2015 23:18 BST

Eddie Jones, the Australian coach who plotted Japan’s extraordinary World Cup victory over the two-time champions South Africa at the weekend, is leaving his post because of deep frustrations over the direction of travel in Asia’s biggest rugby nation.

“I’ve found myself questioning the ambition of the people running the sport there,” he told The Independent. “It’s very disappointing.”

Ironically enough, he has agreed a move to Springbok country, where he will take charge of the Cape Town-based Stormers in next year’s Super 16 tournament. Moves to include a Japanese franchise in the competition have hit trouble and this, among other things, has left Jones with a feeling of deepest frustration.

“I worked pretty hard to make the Super Rugby thing happen, but it doesn’t look like working out,” he said. “There are a lot of issues in Japanese rugby at the moment and I don’t feel things are moving forward in the right way. I’ve spent four years in this job and it’s been hard work. When you’ve helped develop the national team to its present level, you want to know that you can move to the next stage and keep getting better. I’m not confident that we’re quite in that position.”

The Stormers confirmed the agreement with Jones yesterday, just 48 hours before Japan’s pivotal World Cup meeting with Scotland in Gloucester. The Australian goes back a long way with the former Springbok flanker Gert Smal, now director of rugby at the Cape Town set-up, and Smal was quoted as saying: “We’ll get Eddie here as soon as we can after the World Cup so he can start with his 2016 preparations. His appointment, along with our new player acquisitions, is a clear sign of our intention to challenge for Super Rugby silverware and continue our success in local competitions.”

Now 55, Jones joked after Japan’s victory over the Boks that he could “look forward to retirement”. But the lure of Super Rugby, a tournament he won with the Canberra-based Brumbies before taking over as Wallaby coach in 2001, has proved irresistible.

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