Jones or White tipped to become next England rugby coach
LONDON: The hunt is on to find the man who will become the world's best-paid rugby coach and the odds are strongly on the lucrative if high-pressured England job going to a foreign candidate for the first time.
Following Wednesday's resignation of Stuart Lancaster, who presided over a dismal World Cup on home soil, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) have set out their stall for a successor with proven international pedigree, effectively ruling out most of the English contenders.
So, for the first time, the job that media reports say carries a 500,000 pounds a year salary, seems likely to be offered to one of the elite band of overseas coaches with an impressive track record, headed by South African Jake White and Australian Eddie Jones.
White, coach of French club Montpellier who previously led the Springboks to a World Cup triumph in 2007, is the favourite with British bookmakers.
"It's one of the sought-after jobs in world rugby. A sleeping giant as England are, they've got all the resources, the history, the tradition," he told Sky Sports.
"I've said before, if the RFU were genuine about picking a foreign coach and considered me the right man for the job, it would be naive of me to tell you I wasn't interested."
The 52-year-old White was twice contacted by the RFU when they were searching for previous England coaches, only to lose out to Lancaster and Martin Johnson.
Jones, world rugby's flavour of the month following the giant-killing exploits of his Japan team at the World Cup, took up his new job at South African Super Rugby team, the Stormers, on Tuesday, only to find himself asked about the England job.
"There has been no contact and I am committed to the Stormers. I woke up this morning and looked at Table Mountain... I'm very happy to be here," said Jones who led Australia to the 2003 World Cup final.
Other names in the frame include Michael Cheika, who led Australia to the World Cup final, and Joe Schmidt, the New Zealander whose stewardship of Ireland has long impressed English officials.
Clive Woodward, who led England to World Cup glory in 2003, used his column in the Daily Mail newspaper to suggest it was "a real shame" some of the best coaches in the Premiership like Northampton's Jim Mallinder and Exeter's Rob Baxter would not be considered.
"A big name is not necessarily the right name," Woodward wrote. "There are some great English rugby brains out there too, the likes of (World Cup winners) Lawrence Dallaglio, Ben Kay, Will Greenwood and Matt Dawson, and we need to involve them.
"Let's see if there is an English way forward first before we bolt for an overseas coach."