Coach Eddie Jones is focused on “having a few beers” with his deflated England players, rather than on his future, after his side’s 32-12 Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa.
There are growing calls for the Australian mentor to take over from Michael Cheika at the Wallabies following England’s thrilling semi-final win over the All Blacks last weekend.
Several former Australia internationals, including Tim Horan and Stephen Hoiles, even called on Rugby Australia to break the bank to bring him back to the helm 14 years after he was sacked.
Since then another contender, Glasgow Warriors coach David Rennie, revealed he had been approached by New Zealand Rugby over the All Blacks coaching role, vacated by Steve Hansen.
Jones told the Sydney Morning Herald on the eve of Saturday night’s final in Yokohama he hadn’t “heard anything” from RA, while after England’s defeat he was cagey about his future.
“It’s not the time to discuss it now,” Jones told ITV.
“That’s for the future, but for this team there’s no reason why they can’t keep developing.”
At the post-match press conference a journalist pressed the Australian, asking if he could see himself launching another four-year project with England’s young side.
“The only thing I’m worried about now is having a few beers,” Jones said.
“And after we have a few beers today, we’ll probably have a few more beers tomorrow. And then probably Monday. And then maybe we have to pull up stumps.”
Jones was also reticent to comment on his earlier call for his reign to be judged by his team’s performance at the World Cup.
“I don’t think that’s relevant at this stage,” he said.
I’m just thinking about my team. They’re hurting badly enough.
“South Africa were worthy winners, but I can’t fault the effort of my players. They’ve been outstanding throughout the World Cup and played with a lot of pride and passion.”
Four years ago, the Australian masterminded Japan’s stunning 34-32 group-stage triumph over South Africa, dubbed the “Miracle of Brighton”.
Jones was a consultant for the Springboks side that won the World Cup for the second time in 2007.
He also led the Wallabies to the 2003 final, somewhat against the odds, where they lost to England.
Michael Cheika has called for an Australian to follow him, but former England star Stuart Barnes warned that RA may not be able to afford to bring back the coach it sacked after a string of losses in 2005.
“Eddie Jones has been signed up till 2021 with England, so forget that,” Barnes said.
“England pay pretty well so if Australia want him, they’re going to have to break the bank.”