On the ball: England head coach Eddie Jones meets rugby fans at Oswestry book event

Fresh from this year’s Rugby World Cup, England head coach Eddie Jones discussed his love of coaching and a career spanning more than two decades when he met fans in Shropshire.

Eddie Jones with his new book
Eddie Jones with his new book

The 59-year-old was in conversation with BBC Radio Shropshire's sports editor James Bond during a sold-out event at Lion Quays Hotel & Spa, near Gobowen, on Tuesday evening.

Organised by Booka bookshop in Oswestry, Mr Jones told more than 200 fans about how he started out in the world of coaching and also discussed England’s 2019 World Cup campaign.

Eddie Jones in conversation with BBC Radio Shropshire's James Bond

The audience were also able to get their hands on a signed copy of his new autobiography, My Life and Rugby, as well as ask their own questions and meet him afterwards.

Jones's career has spanned four World Cups; from losing to England in the 100th minute in 2003, working with South Africa when they won in 2007, and causing the greatest upset in 2015 when he masterminded the Japanese defeat of South Africa.

Since taking over as head coach of England in 2015 Jones has masterminded a complete revival of the national team.

He has won the Six Nations Championship back-to-back, including England’s first grand slam in a generation, their first ever whitewash of Australia, as well as taking them on their longest ever winning streak.

Eddie Jones meeting his fans

However, he also addressed England's recent defeat against South Africa in the finals of the World Cup in Japan, although he told fans that he could not explain why the team came up short.

He said: "I feel we did everything we could.

"I can't fault the players. They were outstanding."

He said that when he came to coach the England team he had watched their previous games closely, adding: "There were three things I needed to sort out.

"One, I had to get them fitter. Two, we needed to play an English style of rugby and three, I had to get more robust leadership."

Jones, who was congratulated by members of the audience for how far he had taken the national team, said he was now setting his sights on winning the Six Nations.

Eddie Jones meets Charlie Sweeney, 15, from Whitchurch

"I love the challenge of coaching," he said.

"I've really enjoyed taking a group of players that weren't at their best to their best."

Speaking about his approach to coaching, he said: "Your job as a coach is to build belief. You are trying to make them feel confident because players these days feel a lot of pressure.

"The media in England in particular is quite severe.

"You are either a dunce or a hero. There's no inbetween."

Mr Jones played as a hooker for Sydney club Randwick and New South Wales and began coaching Randwick in 1994.

Eddie Jones with his new book

He coached Australia between 2001 and 2005, taking the team to the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final.

He was an assistant coach for South Africa when the Springboks won the 2007 Rugby World Cup and from 2012 to 2015 he coached Japan, leading them in the 2015 Rugby World Cup and their upset win over South Africa.

Speaking about his career, he told fans in Oswestry: "I have been massively lucky. If I hadn't got sacked from Australia, If I hadn't had a stroke, I wouldn't be here today."

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News