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Jones expected to quit Wallabies job

SPOTLIGHT: The future of Eddie Jones as Wallabies coach seems to be over as reports intensify that the veteran coach is on his way to Japan.

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Speculation that Jones has been linked with Japan has been rife for the last few weeks and the move is apparently imminent.

Having returned to Australia following a tumultuous time as coach of England, Jones endured a difficult time in charge, culminating in a first-ever pool stage exit from a men’s Rugby World Cup.

Opting for a very young Wallabies squad despite all the calls against it, they were beaten by Fiji and Wales in Pool D, with the Pacific Islanders’ losing bonus point against Portugal on Sunday sufficient to seal an early departure for Jones’s side.

Then a report surfaced in the Sydney Morning Herald claiming that Jones had interviewed for the role of head coach of the Brave Blossoms with current coach Jamie Joseph having left his role following the teams’ departure from the World Cup.

But reports in Japanese suggest the 63-year-old Jones is edging closer to succeeding Joseph.

Sponichi, a sports newspaper also known as Sports Nippon, has suggested that a deal that will confirm Jones’s return could soon be announced.

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“This spring, Masato Tsuchida, president of the Japan RFU, with whom he has had a honeymoon relationship since his days at Suntory, contacted him,” the report said.

“Contract negotiations have been held privately behind the scenes and preparations are under way for his first return since the 2015 World Cup, at which he led them to a historic three wins.”

During the World Cup, and despite the teams’ poor performance, Phil Waugh, chief executive of Rugby Australia, vehemently denied the allegations, refusing to question his coach’s commitment to Rugby Australia.

Jones coached Japan from 2012 to 2015 and oversaw a miracle World Cup campaign, in which they defeated South Africa.

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He is married to a Japanese woman and has a close relationship with Japan rugby chief Masato Tsuchida.

When the Japanese connection was brought up by journalists during the World Cup, Jones hit out at the line of questioning.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, mate,” Jones replied when asked about the Sydney Morning Herald’s report.

“I really take umbrage at the questioning, that people are questioning my commitment to coaching Australia. I’ve been working non-stop since I came in and I apologise for the result. You want to keep going down that line, I’ll excuse myself.”

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