Eddie Jones has been interviewed to take over as Japan coach, reports said Sunday, casting doubt over his future in the middle of Australia’s stuttering World Cup campaign.
The former England boss was hailed as Australia’s saviour when he was appointed coach in January on a five-year deal to replace New Zealander Dave Rennie.
But the combative 63-year-old has faced mounting criticism at home with the Wallabies losing six of their seven matches since.
They face a do-or-die clash against Wales in France later Sunday to avoid a first-ever elimination from the group stages of a World Cup.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Jones has applied for the head coaching role with Japan, a post he held previously.
Citing sources close to negotiations, it said the Australian had an online Zoom interview with Japan officials on August 25 to replace Jamie Joseph.
He was in Paris at the time with the Wallabies, two days out from a World Cup warm-up match against hosts France.
Last week, Jones dismissed conjecture from Japanese media as “gossip”.
Rugby Australia had no immediate comment, but in a statement to the Herald, chief executive Phil Waugh played down the prospect of Jones leaving.
“I take people at their word and Eddie’s said there’s nothing in it,” he said.
“So, as far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of the story and everyone’s focus is on this weekend’s crucial game against Wales.”
Jones coached Japan from 2012 to 2015 and The Australian newspaper reported Sunday that he has “an open-ended offer to return”.
The Japan Rugby Football Union had no immediate comment.
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