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An emotional Eddie Jones bristled in defence of his England players after their Rugby World Cup final failure and vowed that he will fulfil his Rugby Football Union (RFU) contract and lead the side into the 2020 Six Nations.
Jones suffered an agonising second World Cup final defeat as a head coach, following the 2003 loss to England while Australia boss, with South Africa inflicting a heavy 32-12 demolition on them in Saturday’s clash in Yokohama.
Jones struggled to cope with his emotions after the match, hitting out at the media for being “negative” before sarcastically apologising for the loss. He later returned to his claims that he had been “written off” three weeks earlier despite England going into their quarter-final with Australia as favourites.
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That win meant that England had met their minimum expectation set by the RFU before the tournament, and made a break clause in Jones’s contract redundant given it could have been terminated had England’s performance in Japan not been up to scratch.
Instead, England marched past New Zealand in phenomenal circumstances to reach a fourth final and second against the Springboks, only to hit a flat note on Saturday as they found themselves completely dominated by a powerful South African side.
Yet while Jones refused to discuss his own future after the match, he has since dismissed any thoughts of walking out on the side, with the Australian stressing that he is fully committed to the two remaining years on his contract.
“The only game that’s going to matter now is the first game of the Six Nations and I think we’ve got France. That’s the only game that matters,” Jones said. “I’ll definitely be there, I’m contracted for another two years. I’ll be in my work tomorrow mate, ready to go – Pennyhill Park on Monday afternoon, ready to go.
“I’m sorry guys, I’m going to be there for another two years. I’m sorry to disappoint you.”
However, Jones would not be drawn on whether he will seek a contact extension, despite RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney expressing his preference to extend his stay through the entire World Cup cycle leading to France 2023 in order to give the team full continuity.
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