Former rugby star Katsuyuki Kiyomiya ripped Japan Eddie Jones for addressing his future ahead of the Rugby World Cup, saying the incumbent coach has distracted the team during the final stages of preparation.

Jones on Tuesday announced that he will step down after the World Cup to quell the rumor mill about his plans following the tournament.

Last week, a report out of South Africa had him taking the Stormers job. Jones simply said they were in talks and that no deal had been struck.

Kiyomiya, however, felt Jones made an ill-advised decision in talking about his future less than a month before the World Cup kicks off.

“You have to wonder about the timing of the announcement,” Kiyomiya said, according to Nikkan Sports. “It’s not something you do just before the start of the World Cup.

“It’s outrageous for him to be thinking about his next job when he’s got the World Cup right in front of him. He must think we’re all fools.”

Kiyomiya, who has been coach of Yamaha Jubilo since 2011, has made no secret of his desire to succeed Jones, publicly declaring his availability for the job back in March.

Kiyomiya, who shared an office with Jones at Suntory Sungoliath from 2009-10, added that the players can only rely on themselves now because Jones has made a mess of the situation.

“All they can do is come together and fight as one,” Kiyomiya said. “They will be bearing the Hinomaru so I’m sure that’s what they’ll do.”

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