GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND – Any hopes the Japan Rugby Football Union may have had of persuading Eddie Jones to change his mind about leaving Japan after the Rugby World Cup were dashed Monday with the news he had signed what is believed to be a two-year deal to coach the Cape Town-based Super Rugby side Stormers.
“I am a coach that enjoys a challenge and I see this job as a huge challenge, but one that excites me tremendously,” Jones told the Stormers’ official website.
The Brave Blossoms were en route to Gloucester, where they face Scotland in the Rugby World Cup on Wednesday, when news broke that the much-anticipated deal had been confirmed.
Japan’s stunning win over South Africa over the weekend had led some to hope the JRFU would do all it could to persuade Jones to renege on his decision to leave Japan after the World Cup.
But Jones, who announced in August that he was quitting as national team coach and would not take on the role of director of rugby for Japan’s new Super Rugby side, has long said he thought four years on the job was long enough and Monday’s announcement he would be coaching the Stormers in next year’s Super Rugby competition shows he has stuck by his initial decision.
“Having worked with the Springboks in 2007, and in the process working closely with people like Gert Smal, Allister Coetzee, Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger, it gave me a brief taste of what Stormers rugby and Western Cape rugby is all about,” Jones said.
“I am well aware of the responsibilities that come with this job, one of the biggest franchise jobs in world rugby, but I am also excited about the talent available in the DHL Stormers squad and the potential of this playing squad.”
Jones, who replaces Coetzee, now head coach of Kobe Kobelco Steelers, will arrive in Cape Town at the conclusion of his 2015 Rugby World Cup commitments with Japan’s national team.
“We will get Eddie here as soon as we can after the Rugby World Cup, so he can get started with his 2016 preparations. He is obviously focusing on Japan’s World Cup campaign at present, where he has already made a significant impact, but we look forward to welcoming him here as soon as he is able to get here,” said Smal, the Stormers’ director of rugby.
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