Australian Eddie Jones is set to become England’s new coach, according to British media reports on Thursday.
The 55-year-old will be in place when England kick off their Six Nations campaign next February after the Rugby Football Union (RFU) agreed £100 000 ($153 000, 143 000 euros) compensation with his current team, the Stormers in South Africa, according to the Daily Express and Daily Telegraph.
Stuart Lancaster left the post last week following England’s disastrous World Cup campaign on home soil.
Jones, who would become England’s first overseas coach, said on Tuesday that whoever succeeds Lancaster must have greater control over the country’s test players.
“How can you manage your players when they are controlled by other organisations?” Jones said in an interview with the website ESPN Scrum.
“That is the single greatest task ahead of whoever is going to be appointed as the next England coach.”
The RFU failed to introduce a central contract system when the code turned professional 20 years ago, with players tied to their clubs instead.
Former Australia and Japan boss Jones fulfils the criteria of a coach of “proven international experience”, which RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said would guide his search.
Jones was Australia’s coach when they lost the 2003 World Cup final to England and four years later was a member of South Africa’s back-room staff when they became world champions.
This year saw Jones oversee Japan’s impressive performance at the World Cup, which included a shock defeat of South Africa – the biggest upset in the tournament’s history.
However, he only recently took up a post as coach of Super Rugby side Stormers.
Australia coach Michael Cheika joined a growing list of high-profile figures who said they did not want the England job on Monday.
South Africa’s Jake White, the Springboks’ boss when they won the 2007 World Cup and now in charge of French club Montpellier, on Thursday ruled himself out of the reckoning having previously declared his interest.
Springboks great Bakkies Botha, a member of South Africa’s 2007 World Cup-winning side, believes Jones would prove a shrewd appointment.
“If Eddie is appointed it will be a good step and a positive step forward for England,” said Botha, speaking ahead of the Barbarians’ clash with Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday.
“If it happens, the Stormers’ loss will be England’s gain. He will definitely be a success. He knows what he wants.
“Just look at the Japan team he coached to victory over the Springboks – they outplayed us through intelligence, not brutality or strength, and that’s the type of coach Eddie is.”