Eddie Jones could still be at RWC: England

England have announced Steve Borthwick to replace the axed Eddie Jones, but admit their former coach could come back to haunt them at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

EDDIE JONES. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

Eddie Jones may have moved on as England rugby manager, but the Rugby Football Union (RFU) admit axing the 62-year-old could come back to bite them at next year's World Cup in France.

Jones, who took England to 2019's Rugby World Cup final, was sacked this month after presiding over the country's worst year of results since 2008, managing only five wins from 12 games.

But with a strong World Cup pedigree - he took the Wallabies to the 2003 final and inspired Japan's memorable giant-killing of South Africa in 2015 - there is every chance the Australian may pop up at the 2023 tournament.

"I'd be amazed if he wasn't there (at the World Cup)," RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said. "Does he go there (with Australia) as a consultant? Does he go to the US, to Japan? I don't know.

"There was absolutely no breakdown in (our) relationship with Eddie.

"We spoke to a lot of the players. Eddie is a competitor, he's passionate. He likes that squad and he's got a good relationship with that squad. The players generally like him. He would have wanted to have carried on through to the World Cup.

"The results consistently were less than expected in the last 12 months. We clearly came out with the point of view that we weren't convinced it was going to get better.

"It just didn't seem to be clicking. Eddie had a very clear strategy about how he wanted to play ... but it just wasn't happening."

After seven years with an Australian in charge, England rugby union bosses have now chosen one of their own.

It is not, however, a complete break from the past.

Steve Borthwick, who worked alongside Jones from 2012 to 2020 - with Japan and England - has been appointed as head coach at Twickenham on a five-year contract.

Borthwick, 43, left Jones' employ to mastermind Leicester's Premiership title triumph last season.

Capped 57 times for England, Borthwick had long been earmarked to replace his mentor after next year's World Cup.

"I am deeply honoured to be appointed England head coach, and I am very excited by the challenge," Borthwick said.

"The English game is full of talent and I want to build a winning team which makes the most of our huge potential and inspires young people to fall in love with rugby union the way I did.''

Kevin Sinfield, Leicester assistant coach and former captain of rugby league club Leeds Rhinos, will join Borthwick as defence coach.

- with PA