Jones' loyalty to England questioned after Barrett's comments
SPOTLIGHT: The Rugby Football Union (RFU) said it was “comfortable” with England head coach Eddie Jones continuing to act as a consultant to Beauden Barrett’s Suntory Sungoliath.
New Zealand flyhalf Barrett is on a sabbatical to play with the Japanese club but the two-time world player of the year hopes to feature at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France – a tournament where Jones is still set to be in charge of England.
Jones has had an association with Tokyo-based Suntory spanning two decades.
But the veteran Australian coach only recently received the RFU’s “full support” to carry on in charge of England following a review into the team’s disappointing fifth-place finish in the 2021 Six Nations.
The RFU insisted Jones’ Suntory role was in “no way a conflict” with his Test position.
That is despite Barrett potentially featuring again for one of England’s major rivals, with Jones’ men having defeated the All Blacks in the 2019 World Cup semifinal.
“Eddie has had a little bit to do with Suntory rugby and he’s been so good for me with my dealings with him,” said Barrett.
“When he does have something to tell me, they are like little pieces of gold,” he added.
“His understanding of the game is exceptional. He’s been involved a fair bit, certainly at the start of the season.
“He’s more in the background and dealing with the coaches a lot, but when he does offer advice to the players, it’s certainly good advice.
“It’s good to get that from someone who isn’t there on a daily basis. He’s on the outside looking in and gives good information.”
Jones is currently on annual leave, with his trip to Japan approved by the RFU.
“Eddie has had a consultancy agreement with Suntory for over 20 years,” said an RFU statement.
“We have been aware and comfortable with that since he joined the RFU.
“He provides consultancy in his holidays and this role is in no way a conflict with his England team priorities.”