Former Japan coach Eddie Jones signs extension with England

Eddie Jones has made a tough decision about his future

Eddie Jones has made a tough decision about his future Credit ACTION IMAGES

Jones had been due to step down after next year's World Cup in Japan but having overseen a run of 22 wins from 23 Tests, his employers have chose to lengthen the 57-year-old's reign.

Jones' new contract has a performance-based break clause based on England's showing at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. "It's a good opportunity to bring through another coach and make sure they come into a successful team and keep making England successful".

The RFU has also agreed a succession process for appointing Jones' long-term replacement as England's head coach.

"I will continue to work as hard as I can to make England the world's best rugby team".

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"New Zealand has shown that if you get the right coaching team in place it can aid the sustainability of the team". Now the RFU will hope to avoid the disruption and indeed cost of having to enage in wholesale changes of coaching staff at the end of every four-year World Cup cycle.

"He does lots of great things across the professional game, engagement with clubs and the community game as well - that brings something bigger and a wider force for good for English rugby", said Brown. "I have been in other teams that have been successful, and the transition to the next coach hasn't been successful".

The Australian tactician is clear in his ambitions to develop England into the number one side in the world, but this latest move from RFU CEO Steve Brown to nail colours to the mast for even longer ensures Jones can build an effective legacy.

Jones's departure in 2021 would leave him available to lead the British and Irish Lions in South Africa that year, albeit with some potential shuffling as Lions officials now like their man to be full-time with them for much of the season preceding a tour. However, he predictably dodged the issue on Wednesday, saying his focus was entirely on England.

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"I was never arrogant or presumptuous enough to think I was going to be offered something beyond the end of the contract", Jones said of his previous reluctance to commit beyond 2019.

Brown said the new contract would not prohibit Jones taking over the Lions. Jones will be back at Twickenham on Thursday to name his squad ahead of England's opening game in Italy on February 4.

Meanwhile, England flanker James Hassell will miss the first two matches of the champions' Six Nations title defence after being banned for a unsafe tackle while playing for Wasps in a European club match against Harlequins.

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