Guilt-free Eddie Jones denies early job interview in Japan

Jones confirmed as new Japan rugby coach

Eddie Jones says his Wallabies exit to join Japan sits well with him, the coach maintaining he hadn’t been in talks for the job until after Australia’s failed World Cup campaign.

Jones was unveiled as the Brave Blossoms’ coach in a press conference at a Tokyo hotel on Thursday night.

It was first reported in September that Jones had been interviewed by the Japanese Rugby Football Union in August, two days before the Wallabies’ World Cup warm-up Test against France.

The Wallabies then endured a historically poor Cup campaign, bounced out before the quarter-finals for the first time.

Jones has continuously denied that the August interview took place, and doubled down again when pressed on Thursday, saying his first and only interview was this month.

Sitting alongside Jones, JRFU president Masato Tsuchida interjected to explain that a recruitment agency representing the organisation had initially contacted Jones, but only to ask for his advice on filling the vacancy left by Jamie Joseph.

“I didn’t do an interview before the World Cup,” Jones said.

“I was asked by the recruitment agency to share my experiences with them on Japan.

“Some people might have construed that as an interview, it certainly wasn’t an interview.”

Jones said he didn’t feel “any guilt” and that he left because Rugby Australia couldn’t accommodate his needs.

“Apologise to Australian fans? Mate, yep, I gave everything I could in that short period of time and it wasn’t good enough,” said the 63-year-old, whose mother and wife are Japanese.

“I had a plan of what we needed to do to change Australian rugby. We weren’t able to do that, Rugby Australia weren’t able to support that.

“I decided to move on and I wish Australia all the best.

“I feel terrible about the results of Australia – I wanted to go back and change Australia.

“But I don’t feel any guilt at all about this process.”

It will be the second time Jones has taken charge of the Brave Blossoms, following a three-year posting from 2012 highlighted by a shock World Cup defeat of South Africa.

Axed as England coach in December, Jones was quickly snapped up by Australia at Dave Rennie’s expense.

But that long-term deal lasted just nine months, the circumstances around Jones’s exit causing uproar in rugby circles and contributing to the ousting of Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McClennan.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I can’t control their opinion,” Jones said of the backlash in Australia.

“The only thing I can control is what I did, and it sits well with me mate, I don’t have a problem with it.”

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