Australian Eddie Jones has become something of a stolen British icon for building an aura of invincibility around the latest England squad.
After the disastrous exit from the World Cup in 2015 there needed to be a drastic transformation and Jones was the perfect man; happy to make bold calls, substitutions after 30 minutes and dish out a whole lot of tough love, Jones has expertly manufactured a side with lofty ambitions and seriously high standards.
So who on earth could follow this class act as the next England coach, with Jones having always said that he would step down from the job after the 2019 Rugby World Cup?
8. Will Greenwood
Greenwood is a speculative stab in the dark rather than being based on any likelihood or possibility. He’s everyone’s favourite pundit and above all else he knows what he’s talking about. His work on podcasts, as an analyst and as a pundit accentuate just how eloquent and knowledgeable about the game he is.
It wouldn’t be the first time England have thrown an English rugby icon in at the deep end. Martin Johnson was trusted with the job and although his tenure did not yield successful results, he was respected. If he can learn quickly on the job who’s to say he can’t sneak in as England coach as an outside bet.
7. Vern Cotter
Cotter deserves more credit for the job he did with Scotland. Historically Scotland have been the perennial underachievers who duke it out with the Italians to avoid the wooden spoon in the Six Nations. Now they look like genuine world-beaters who can compete with anyone on their day.
He has a keen eye for selection as well. This could be a very employable quality, as England will need to bring in new blood after the 2019 World Cup. They will need to rebuild and Cotter looks like a man who could use England’s vast resources to his benefit in fashioning a new England side going into 2020.
6. Steve Borthwick
As Eddie Jones’ right-hand man, Borthwick has the blueprint to becoming a successful England coach. The ex-England captain’s meticulous approach to forwards play has made the England set piece one of the more solid and stable on the international scene. The fact that he has been under Jones’ wing for a number of years allows him to continue the mentality and game plan that England currently play under.
Other coaches on this list might try to tinker with the tactics or even make wholesale change, but Borthwick would stick to the winning formula that Jones relies on. A drawn Lions series against New Zealand can’t hurt his cause as England search for that All Black scalp. Even if Borthwick does not campaign for the head coach role expect to see him as a trusted adviser going forward.
5. Scott Robertson
The hottest thing going in coaching at the moment, Robertson would be a left field choice. He’s young, exuberant and can break dance which is a break from the usual tradition of older, wiser heads. Perhaps after Eddie Jones, what England will need, is a man with a dash of Kiwi flair and nouse.
He’s already accustomed to winning after leading the Crusaders to the Super Rugby trophy and the style that they play is remarkably similar to England. A hard-nosed team up front who earn the right to play wide. He could be a very popular choice in the media and could reinvent the English coaching role.
4. Dean Richards
Teams under Richards tend to win; you just can’t ignore his record. He did it with a dominant Leicester side, he built up Harlequins from the brink of destruction and he’s working his magic currently with a Newcastle Falcons side that lacks stars. An exponent of the dark arts Richards could elevate this world-class English pack to new heights.
If there is one thing we have become accustomed to with Eddie Jones, it’s winning. By hook or by crook Jones’ England always find a way to come out on top and regardless of how aesthetically pleasing it is. Richards could easily replicate this mantra of winning no matter the cost. A gnarled veteran who knows every trick in the book.
3. Steve Hansen
Eddie Jones is a living example that rival coaches are prone to go seeking greener pastures once the job is done. Hansen, like McCall, may be looking for a new challenge after so many years of All Black dominance. Let’s say he wins a third Rugby World Cup, it is certainly possible that his next venture will be coaching in a different hemisphere.
As a coach who has been surrounded by the very best players on the planet, he would inevitably push the standards of English rugby even higher. Hansen’s pedigree and record would be appreciated by the fans and player alike. He’s got that same dry sense of humour that Jones has as well, a useful skill to have when tackling the media.
2. Mark McCall
McCall has won absolutely everything there is to offer with Saracens. Some coaches get that itch of ambition that edges them towards new pastures and if England come calling it would be hard for him to resist. The RFU would love to have a man who cares so much about player welfare and culture on board.
What makes him such an obvious option is the amount of Saracens that make up the core of the England squad. Owen Farrell, the Vunipola brothers, George Kruis, Maro Itoje and youngster Alex Lozowksi are all key components of the England squad going forward. McCall’s relationship with them and ability to enstil a winning mentality would be invaluable.
1. Rob Baxter
The Exeter boss is a miracle worker – people forget that he took Exeter up from the Championship and made them champions within six years of coaching. That’s one hell of an achievement. The brand of rugby Exeter chiefs play would be the perfect fit for England. A big, abrasive pack who trust their ability to play through phases with playmakers in the backline.
He’s respected in the rugby community and is a great manager of men. His passion is infectious as we saw aftr the whistle of last years final. Rugby means the world to him and his players adore him for it. Someone that the troops would follow into battle, Baxter would be the ideal candidate.