Japan rugby coach Eddie Jones has shot down reports he has signed a contract to take over South Africa’s Western Stormers, but yesterday said he was “chatting” with the Super XV side as he weighs up his options before his contract expires.
Jones of Australia has a contract with the Brave Blossoms until the end of this year, but he was thought to be keen to remain in Japan, which is to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup, to coach the national side as well as the new Super XV expansion team.
However, reports from South Africa on Monday said the 55-year-old had already put pen to paper on a two-year contract worth 5 million rand (US$385,563) per year with the Cape Town-based Stormers.
The reports also suggested Jones could retain his role with Japan, despite being based out of South Africa.
Jones yesterday told Japan’s Kyodo News that he was simply exploring his options.
“I am chatting with [the Stormers], but that is the extent of it,” he said. “I am off contract in 2015 and I am looking at my options.”
“Players and coaches sign contracts and do everything they can until the contract comes to an end, but you need to look elsewhere when your contract is coming to an end. That is professional rugby,” he added.
Jones, who has never held a top coaching position in South Africa, said he was always drawn to the appeal of doing something different.
“That is why I came to Japan after coaching in England,” he said. “No Australian has done anything in Japan. I like new challenges and that is why I am chatting with them.”
The Stormers lost to Australia’s ACT Brumbies in the playoffs of this year’s Super XV tournament.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has since moved to Japan to take over Top League side Kobe Kobelco Steelers.
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