There’s long been speculation that Eddie Jones could make the switch to the NRL and with his first comments since being removed from his position as England head coach he’s stoked the fire even more.
Jones has made no secret of his love of rugby league and the majority of rumours surrounding an NRL switch came from comments he made during a visit to Penrith Panthers in the summer.
Speaking to 9News in the summer Jones had said: “If there was an opportunity there (in the NRL) I would jump at it, but the reality is it’s probably not going to be there,” explained Jones.
“That (the South Sydney Rabbitohs job) would be the dream team. That would be the dream.
“From the age of five, I’ve supported Souths. That would be fantastic (to coach the Rabbitohs). I loved the old teams with Ronnie Coote, Bob McCarthy, John Sattler and Eric Simms.”
Now having been officially removed from the role as England head coach following the worst year of results since 2008 he could be free to make the switch and he hasn’t dismissed any rumours either.
In comments made to WA Today, Jones said: “All the critics are having their say, my only response is that I have coached a certain way my whole career and I’m happy with that, and I’m not about to change anything when it comes to my dedication, expectations and determination to get things done. I’m not going to get into anything more than that.
“As for my next step, well I think everyone knows I love a scrap and I’m up for whatever challenge is next. I’m open to looking at everything in rugby and I’ve made no secret of my wish to give the NRL a go, too. Nothing is off the table. Nothing. It’s all about the right job at the right time and I’ll look at it all.”
Those comments are the first since his sacking that indicate what the future may hold for Jones, 62, and he continues to double down on his love of the NRL and his desire to test himself in that sphere.
Having coached rugby union on an international level since 2001, when he took charge of the Australia side that lost to England in the 2003 World Cup final, he’s since coached Japan and England for the last seven years.
Jones has many connections to the NRL and the recently appointed Manly coach Anthony Seibold is a major one.
Seibold was appointed as an assistant at England for Jones in 2021 in a move that saw Seibold able to revive his career after being removed from jobs at both South Sydney Rabbitohs and Brisbane Broncos.
With Seibold only appointed in November following the Manly pride shirt disaster he could require a more senior figure to lean on in re-establishing the culture at the club.
As a return to club rugby in the form of the NRL is one story that won’t go away for Jones, and one that he continues to fuel himself, it’s possible he could be seen in the NRL sooner rather than later.