Rather than giving him the inside track, Eddie Jones claims his close relationship with Japan rugby supremo Masato Tsuchida could actually hurt his chances of coaching the Brave Blossoms for a second time.
Despite arguing he is not part of a formal process, Jones admits he is intrigued by the prospect of replacing Jamie Joseph as Japan coach after quitting on the Wallabies following a disastrous Rugby World Cup.
The 63-year-old spoke at length about his potential next move on The Bye Round podcast with British league great James Graham.
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“He (Tsuchida) was the first Suntory coach I had had an association with and that’s probably a bit of a stumbling block,” Jones said.
“He wants to run his own race, and doesn’t want to be associated with favouritism. So I’ll just wait and see what comes out in the wash.
“Given the disappointment of this (Wallabies) job it’s probably the first time I’ve decided I just need to sit back now. I’ve been basically coaching since 1996 and I’m just going to sit back and if somebody offers me a job I have to make sure it’s the right job and if it is I’ll give it a go.
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“I’d like to keep coaching internationally – I don’t think I want to go back and coach club. If there’s not – I’ve been a consultant with Suntory in Japan since 1996 so it’s the longest relationship ever. So I’ll go back and start doing a bit with them in Japan and wait and see.”
“I reckon they’ll do something in the next couple of months. I’m not rushing to get a job at the moment,” Jones said.
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“Conversations go on all the time. Agents ring you up. You know what it’s like. If I was intending to go somewhere else, why would I take a young squad (to the World Cup)? Unless I’m a lunatic – which I’m probably close to – but not a full blown lunatic.
“I have been a consultant for Suntory in Japan since 1996. I’ll go back and start doing a bit with them in Japan and then just wait and see.”
Jones replied “not yet” when asked directly by Graham whether he had “signed on.”
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Meanwhile, Jones backed Roosters star Joseph Suaalii to make a successful code switch next year.
“The key is when you bring players in, they’ve got to have the right attitude. Because otherwise you have situations where it causes a bit of a problem in a team,” Jones said.
“And from what I know with Suaalii – everyone who speaks about him from school to Trent Robinson – he’s a serious professional, works hard and he will be great… it’s going to be the level of coaching he gets, don’t take away the things he’s good at, let him do those and get him to understand the game a bit and he’ll end up being a great role model.”