England have sacked head coach Eddie Jones following a review of recent performances, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) has announced.

Jones had been in charge since becoming England's first foreign coach in November 2015 and was due to end his long reign after the Rugby World Cup next year.

However, on the back of a disappointing Autumn Nations Series, the RFU has decided to make a change just nine months before the tournament gets under way in France.

"I am pleased with much that we have achieved as an England team and I look forward to watching the team's performance in the future," said Jones in a statement.

"Many of the players and I will no doubt keep in touch and I wish them all well in their future careers."

 

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said after last month's 27-13 loss to South Africa at Twickenham that results "are not where we expect them to be".

England have endured their worst calendar year since 2008 in terms of results, having won just five of their 12 Tests.

The Red Rose were booed off the field after losing to the Springboks at Twickenham, but Australian Jones remained bullish at the time and said he "does not care what other people think".

Despite a 2022 to forget, Jones bows out with a record of 59 wins from his 81 Tests at the helm, with a win rate of 73 per cent – the best of any head coach in England's history.

Next on that list is Jack Rowell (72 per cent), followed by Geoff Cooke and Clive Woodward (both 71 per cent), the latter having regularly called for Jones to be dismissed.

Jones led England to their first Grand Slam in 13 years in 2016, then won the tournament again in 2017 and 2020, while also reaching the 2019 Rugby World Cup final - which was won by South Africa.

He won his first 17 games with England, which was part of an 18-game win streak overall, the joint longest of any Tier 1 nation.

Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick, one of Jones' former assistants, is considered the favourite to land the job, while Richard Cockerill will run the men's performance team on an interim basis.

Warren Gatland is "under no illusions" he has to deliver for Wales otherwise he risks damaging his legacy upon his return as head coach.

Wayne Pivac was relieved of his duties on Monday by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) after defeats against New Zealand, Georgia and Australia last month.

That opened the door for Gatland, a three-time Six Nations winner with Wales, to make a sensational return to the role Pivac replaced him in after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Gatland, whose first stint with Wales lasted 12 years, will take charge in the Six Nations, the World Cup in France next year and potentially through to the 2027 tournament in Australia.

The 59-year-old reached the top of World Rugby's rankings with Wales in his final year and acknowledged he must achieve similar success on his return.

When asked if his second appointment could damage his reputation, Gatland said: "That's the exciting thing about it, isn't it?

"If you're a flop and fail... I'm under no illusions what the expectations are in the next 10 months.

"I've always loved the challenge, I've always loved going into environments where there are expectations and hopefully exceeding those expectations.

"That's part of professional sport, there are ups and downs. You live by your results and performances.

"I'm excited about it, but there are pressures and risks. I'm confident I can come in and hopefully make a difference and get a side together who are proud to put that jersey on, and when they go out there and represent Wales in front of home fans they're prepared to die for that jersey.

"Those are my expectations and I don't expect anything less from the players in terms of what it means to play for Wales – the history, the expectation.

"If we can achieve that in a short period of time, I think that will give us the best opportunity to be successful."

The New Zealander inherits a Wales side that have won just three of 12 games in 2022, though he is relishing the challenge in store after leaving Super Rugby side the Chiefs.

"I can hit the ground running. Obviously, there's a new group of players," he added.

"There's a process I've got to go through over the next few weeks and get a real feel for the place again, so it's like 2007-2008 and coming in completely cold.

"That's a massive advantage I've got in terms of knowing Wales and the set-up. I can come in and hopefully be seamless in stepping into the role."

As for his long-term future with Wales, Gatland remains focused on getting his side into shape for the World Cup, which starts on September 8.

"At the moment my immediate focus is between now and the World Cup, and afterwards it's myself and Steve Phillips [WRU chief executive] talking about possibilities going forward," he continued.

"During that 10 months we've got to be showing we've made progress and we've been successful, and then potentially other opportunities arise from that.

"That's how we are at the moment. There's no certainty, but I'm comfortable with that, so if the next 10 months is not successful then you are involved in professional sport and know what the consequences are.

"I'm comfortable and confident that I can come in and make a difference, and create an environment we can be successful in. If that happens then potentially other discussions may take place.

"But I'm not looking past the next 10 months, I'm not looking past France."

Luke Cowan-Dickie will end his England career after the Rugby World Cup next year by joining Top 14 heavyweights Montpellier.

The hooker, who has won 42 England caps and three for the British and Irish Lions, will end his 12-year spell with Exeter Chiefs to move to France at the end of the season.

Cowan-Dickie follows his Exeter team-mate Sam Simmonds in making the switch from Sandy Park to Montpellier.

"It's gutting to be leaving," said the 29-year-old, who has made 163 appearances for the Chiefs.

"I've been at the Chiefs for 12 years and it's all I've known. That said, this opportunity came up and it was one that I had to think long and hard about. I spoke a lot with my family about it and it wasn't an easy decision to make in the end.

"Obviously, it's a different competition, a different language – which I'll have to learn – but I think it's time for a change.

"Hopefully, I've still got plenty of years left in my career, but this is an opportunity for me to go over there and show what I am all about."

Fellow England international Joe Marchant has also joined the exodus of Premiership players to France, the centre opting to join Stade Francais next season from Harlequins.

South Africa winger Sbu Nkosi has been found "safe and sound" after being reported as missing last week.

Nkosi's club the Bulls revealed on Sunday there was "grave worry" for the 2019 World Cup winner after he had been absent without leave for three weeks.

The Pretoria-based club opened a missing person case with the police, but on Monday revealed good news on the 26-year-old.

A Bulls statement said: "The Blue Bulls Company and the Bulls family are happy to confirm that contracted player, Sbu Nkosi, has been found safe and sound.

"After lengthy and extensive efforts from the Vodacom Bulls, in collaboration with SSG – who have gone beyond their commercial responsibility – at 14:02pm on Monday 05 December 2022, Nkosi was located.

"Once it was established that Nkosi was safe, unharmed and in a position to speak, chief executive Edgar Rathbone went into Nkosi's home (with the permission of the player), spending alone time with him, to understand how best the company can provide him with the support he needs and what that support is.

"As the Bulls family, we are thrilled that Nkosi is safe.

"We wish to extend a vote of thanks to all the members of the public who shared information that contributed to our search. We wish to also express a word of thanks to the international community who also joined the call and efforts in searching for Nkosi.

"At this present moment, we cannot give further comments on the matter."

Warren Gatland has agreed to make a sensational return to the Wales head coach role after Wayne Pivac was relieved of his duties.

Pivac paid the price for defeats against New Zealand, Georgia and Australia last month.

New Zealander Pivac replaced his compatriot Gatland after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, but has fallen short of expectations.

Gatland, who had such a successful first 12-year spell serving Wales, will leave his position with Super Rugby side the Chiefs to take charge in the Six Nations, the World Cup in France next year and potentially through to the 2027 tournament in Australia.

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) CEO Steve Phillips said: "This is one of the toughest calls to make in sport, but the review process has reached its conclusion and we have acted quickly and efficiently in the very best interests of our national team.

"Ultimately we are in the results business and we have agreed with Wayne that the current trajectory for Wales is not where we want it to be and we thank him sincerely for his time, enthusiasm, diligence and effort, which is unquestioned, as head coach over the last three years."

Gatland masterminded Six Nations Grand Slams in 2008 and 2012, then won the Six Nations in 2019.

"I'm very much looking forward to returning to coach Wales," said Gatland.

"This is an opportunity to achieve something with a talented group of players in a country so passionate about rugby. A country which made my family and I so welcome, when we first arrived 15 years ago, and all the time we were there.

"Our immediate priority is obviously the 2023 Guinness Six Nations and next year's Rugby World Cup.

"There is little time for sentiment, professional sport is all about preparation, values and results. There will be new challenges as there always is with a change in head coach, but for me the environment, the players and their families will always come first.

"We must prepare to the best of our ability in the time available. We will value and respect each other, we will work hard and, if we get this right together, performances and results will follow."

There is "grave worry" for Sbu Nkosi after the World Cup-winning winger was reported missing by his club the Bulls.

The 26-year-old flyer, who was in the South Africa squad that lifted the World Cup in Japan three years ago, has been absent without leave from the Pretoria-based club for three weeks.

Nkosi has been capped 16 times but missed the tour of Europe last month due to a rib injury.

A statement from his club said: "The Blue Bulls Company can confirm that Bulls contracted player Sbu Nkosi has been absent without leave for the past three weeks. Nkosi's last known contact with any executive, management or playing squad member is Friday 11 November 2022.

"After numerous failed attempts, which include but are not limited to phone calls, texts messages, calls to relatives, partner and close friends as well as four house visits to his known place of residence, the company took the decision to open a missing person case with the Brooklyn Police Station (which was subsequently transferred to Sunnyside Police Station), in Pretoria on Thursday 17 November 2022.

"This resulted from the grave worry and concern of everyone at Loftus as well as the need for the expert assistance of the South African Police Services.

"We appreciate both the public and media interest in the matter, as we all share the same concerns about the player's safety. However, we ask that you understand that we cannot make any further comments on the matter as it now sits with the South African Police Services."

England head coach Eddie Jones has hit back after criticism from Clive Woodward.

The team's former head coach called for England's situation – including Jones' position – to be "scrutinised" should they fail to beat Scotland in next year's Six Nations opener.

England suffered a 27-13 defeat to world champions South Africa on Saturday, having also recently been beaten by Argentina at Twickenham, with doubts growing over their credentials ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup following a poor showing during the Autumn internationals.

With just one win in November against Japan, England's schedule concluded with a loss to a Springboks team missing key European-based players.

Woodward led England to the 2003 Rugby World Cup crown and he believes Jones' position should be under threat ahead of the latest Rugby Football Union (RFU) review, writing in his Daily Mail column: "England are not just losing, they are going backwards at an alarming rate of knots.

"A full and totally transparent review must be done immediately to look into where the team are at. As head coach, Eddie Jones has serious questions to answer. Everything must be scrutinised."

 

Speaking to Men's Health UK, Jones issued a sharp response, claiming he is currently at the peak of his coaching powers.

"I feel sad for him [Woodward]," he said. "If that is the best thing he has to do in his life, then he hasn't a lot to do.

"I'm 62 now and I think in pure coaching terms I am coaching better than I ever have. Results aren't always perfect, but I'm happy with how I have been coaching.

"After this, I want to do something really meaningful. I've enjoyed England a lot, it was a bit of a rescue job at the start, now rebuilding, and I am confident I will leave things in good shape."

Jones has already said he will leave the role after next year's World Cup.

Eddie Jones should be sacked as England head coach if his side fail to beat Scotland in next year's Six Nations opener, says former boss Clive Woodward.

The Australian oversaw a 27-13 defeat to world champions to South Africa on Saturday, another chastening result for his side ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup following a loss to Argentina at Twickenham.

With just one win in November against Japan, England were well beaten by a Springboks team missing key European-based players,

Woodward, who masterminded the Red Rose's 2003 Rugby World Cup, believes Jones' position should be under threat ahead of the latest Rugby Football Union (RFU) review.

"England are not just losing, they are going backwards at an alarming rate of knots," he wrote in his Daily Mail column.

"A full and totally transparent review must be done immediately to look into where the team are at. As head coach, Eddie Jones has serious questions to answer. Everything must be scrutinised."

Woodward has pointed to the RFU's culpability too, in reference to a review panel that has assessed his tenure periodically.

The 66-year-old feels he should have been asked to investigate the incumbent head coach, while shooting down suggestions he wants a role within the governing body.

"Since 2019, when Jones' England failed to turn up in the World Cup final, this anonymous panel has conducted two utterly pointless reviews," he added.

"For reasons which have never been explained to me, I have never been invited to participate in any of these reviews. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I believe I am the most qualified Englishman to conduct an investigation.

"People might read that and think I'm angling for a job. Nothing could be further from the truth. The role as RFU director of rugby would have interested me 10 years ago, but that ship has long since sailed.

"Jones needs to feel some serious heat from his employers. I would say to him: 'Forget the next World Cup, if you lose your next game against Scotland in the Six Nations you're out of your job.'

"If Jones has to get paid off [through his contract], then so be it. Stop talking about the World Cup. It epitomises the cosy culture of English rugby and is a sure-fire way to keep your job no matter how poorly you perform.

England will face Scotland at Twickenham on February 4 to kick off their Six Nations campaign ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

England's results this year are "not where we expect them to be", the Rugby Football Union (RFU) has accepted, as questions continue to be asked of Eddie Jones' future as head coach.

The Red Rose lost 27-13 to South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday to round off their worst calendar year since 2008 in terms of results, having lost six of their 12 Tests in 2022.

England were booed off the field after losing to the Springboks, but Jones, under contract until after next year's Rugby World Cup, remained bullish and said he "does not care what other people think".

The RFU has made clear England's form heading into a World Cup year has not been good enough, however, and meetings will now be held to review what changes can be made.

"We would like to thank England fans for their patience and support, it matters to us how they feel," RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said in a short statement on Sunday.

"Like them, we are really disappointed with the results of the Autumn Nations Series. Despite strong individual performances and some great new talent coming into the team, the overall results are not where we expect them to be.

"The review panel will hold a series of meetings in the next two weeks to discuss the Autumn Nations campaign and how improvements can be made ahead of the Six Nations."

England begin their 2023 Six Nations campaign at home to Scotland on February 4 as they seek to win the championship for a fourth time in eight years.

England head coach Eddie Jones remains bullish about the side's future despite Saturday's poor 27-13 loss to South Africa rounding out their worst calendar year since 2008.

The loss at Twickenham means the 2019 World Cup runners-up lost six of 12 Tests in 2022, managing only one win from four games during their autumn campaign.

Jones' side finished with a 2-3 record in the Six Nations at the start of the year, while earlier this month they lost to Argentina for the first time since 2009.

England were barely at the races on Saturday, with tries to Kurt-Lee Arendse and Eben Etzebeth lifting the Springboks to a 27-6 lead before Henry Slade's late consolation score with Thomas du Toit red carded for a no arms tackle.

"We want to win," Jones told reporters. “We are judged by results but I feel there is growth in the team which wasn't evident today.

"We don't want to get beat by a big score to South Africa and don't want to have the worst record since 2008 so it is a problem but I accept full responsibility for that.

"Obviously on results we are not happy but I feel like we are building a really good base to have a really good go at the World Cup, a really good go.

"A number of young players got great experience today and they'll come back better players for that. We’ve got other players coming back to form, some of our more senior players and we're not far away. We need to develop consistently. Test match rugby is all about consistency."

Jones said that "nothing seemed to go right" against the Springboks, who beat England in the 2019 World Cup final.

The loss comes after England thrashed Japan 52-13 a fortnight ago, a win followed by last week's thrilling 25-25 draw with New Zealand at Twickenham where the side crossed three times in the final eight minutes.

"I think it is a bit of a watershed game for us and we came into the game with high expectations on how we wanted to play on the back of Japan and New Zealand," Jones said.

"In this game South Africa were a bit too tough in the scrum and the air and I know where we have to improve.

"Are we moving in the right direction towards the World Cup? Yes we are. I don't care what other people think. Obviously, we are disappointed with our performance but there are 11 months to the World Cup and I have no doubt we will rise to the occasion.

"We just didn't fire a shot as we wanted today. You have to win contests against the Springboks and we didn't win the air or the set piece. We lost two of the key contests and we have to improve in those areas."

South Africa cruised to a first away win over England since 2014 as the Springboks prevailed 27-13 at Twickenham despite being reduced to 14 men.

Meeting for the second time since the Boks beat England in the 2019 World Cup final, South Africa dictated the contest after falling behind early to Owen Farrell's penalty.

With director of rugby Rassie Erasmus absent due to his two-game ban for social media posts about alleged refereeing inconsistencies in the Springboks' 30-26 loss to France in Marseille, South Africa produced a convincing performance that backed up their status as favourites.

Faf de Klerk kicked six points in the first half, his two penalties sandwiched by a Damian Willemse drop goal and a sensational solo try from Kurt-Lee Arendse that saw him score for the sixth successive Test.

The visitors led 14-3 at half-time and, after Willemse and Farrell traded penalties, their command was furthered after England's Tom Curry was sin-binned.

Eben Etzebeth dotted down and De Klerk converted before knocking over another three-pointer, but South Africa's momentum was checked when Thomas du Toit was sent off for a no arms tackle on Luke Cowan-Dickie.

Henry Slade took advantage to score England's sole try, but that was scant consolation at the end of a game that suggested the gap between the two 2019 finalists has widened.

Wales squandered a 21-point second-half lead to lose 39-34 to Australia at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff in a defeat that will further increase the pressure on head coach Wayne Pivac.

Jac Morgan scored two tries to help put Wales in a commanding position after 52 minutes, but Lachlan Lonergan completed a stunning late comeback to snap Australia's three-match losing run and inflict a ninth loss in 12 Tests on Pivac's side.

Morgan added to his double against Georgia by dotting down inside 10 minutes against Australia, either side of two penalties for Ben Donaldson, before Taulupe Faletau powered through a couple of Australian tackles to slide into the corner for a try on his 100th Test.

Gareth Anscombe added to that tally with a couple of penalties as part of a 10-point haul in the first half, though Folau Fainga'a touched down prior to half-time to reduce Wales' lead to two points.

Jake Gordon and Tom Robertson was sin-binned either side of half-time and Australia were made to pay when Morgan found the chalk from a driving maul, and the hosts were further ahead when Rio Dyer found the corner after a well-worked move.

Mark Nawaqanitawase revived Australia's hopes by twice crossing over and Wales themselves lost their discipline as Justin Tipuric and Ryan Elias were yellow carded, with the referee also awarding a penalty try after the latter deliberately collapsed a driving maul. 

Wales still had a two-point lead to protect with a minute remaining, but Lonergan walked in a dramatic last-gasp try following yet more good play from Nawaqanitawase, allowing Noah Lolesio to add the game-sealing extras.

South Africa great John Smit believes Rassie Erasmus' approach has made the Springboks "easy to dislike" after the latter was banned for criticising match officials.

Springboks director of rugby Erasmus was handed a two-match ban by World Rugby after posting on Twitter about the officiating in a defeat to France on November 12.

It is not the first time the former South Africa head coach has come into trouble with the governing body, recently returning from a year-long matchday ban for his conduct against the British and Irish Lions.

Smit acknowledged many coaches will share similar frustrations but was unforgiving in his analysis of Erasmus, who was absent for last Saturday's victory over Italy and will miss the next Test against England.

"It's hard to defend him," South Africa's most-capped player Smit told the Rugby Union Daily post. "The way he has approached this is not right.

"Are you telling me Rassie is the only coach frustrated by a call that has gone the wrong way?

"Something has to be done. There has to be a line that has to be drawn, and he is making it difficult for his team. It's made us, as a rugby team, so easy to dislike."

South Africa face England on Saturday at Twickenham as the Proteas look to build on a 63-21 victory over Italy.

Ireland's Josh van der Flier has been named men's World Rugby Player of the Year, while New Zealand duo Ruahei Demant and Wayne Smith both scooped another big prize.

The Leinster flanker was presented with the prestigious award in Monaco on Sunday after playing a huge part in Ireland's rise to the top of the rankings.

Van der Flier beat off competition from France scrum-half Antoine Dupont, winner of the award last year, South Africa centre Lukhanyo Am and his Ireland team-mate Johnny Sexton to land the gong.

The 29-year-old has been outstanding in a memorable year for Ireland, who secured a historic maiden series win over the All Blacks in New Zealand.

He is the third Irishman to win the award after Keith Wood in 2001 and Sexton four years ago.

Co-captain Demant was named women's World Rugby Player of the Year following New Zealand's World Cup triumph on home soil.

Demant's team-mate Portia Woodman, England's Alex Matthews, Sophie de Goede of Canada and France's Laure Sansus were also on the shortlist.

Smith was presented with the Coach of the Year award following the Black Ferns' win over England.

Ireland men's head coach Andy Farrell, France men's head coach Fabien Galthie and England women's boss Simon Middleton missed out on that honour to Smith.

Merab Sharikadze says World Rugby can no longer "ignore" Georgia after their shock 13-12 victory over Wales at the Principality Stadium.

Luka Matkava scored a long-range penalty just two minutes from time to give Georgia an upset win in Cardiff.

That success comes after beating Italy in July and only narrowly losing to Samoa, leading to discussion of them potentially earning a place in the Six Nations.

Georgia have won the second-tier Rugby Europe Championship 11 times in the past 12 years, and Sharikadze believes World Rugby need to take notice of their displays.

"It would be unfair if World Rugby tried to pretend this didn't happen," Georgia's captain Sharikadze told reporters after the Wales triumph. "It says a lot doesn't it that we have beaten two top-tier sides this year.

"I hope they [World Rugby] are watching us. I'm not arrogant, but I hope they don't try to ignore what is happening. How can you when something is so obvious?"

Sharikadze was beaming with pride over his team's stunning performance and result, adding: "It's amazing. Beating Italy was amazing, but beating Wales in Wales is unbelievable. It says a lot doesn't it?

"We have proved many people wrong. For a sportsman there's no better feeling than proving people wrong. It drives you.

"It's a great feeling. We're not world champions, but we have made history. Now people have to look about change."

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