Japan Society Welcomes England Rugby Coach Eddie Jones
Tuesday 3 May 2016, Clifford Chance
Charismatic rugby coach Eddie Jones stole the headlines at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England when his Japanese minnows shocked the mighty Springboks and won the host nation’s hearts with a display of skill and sportsmanship. Six months later, fresh from masterminding the English rugby team’s first Six Nations Grand Slam triumph in thirteen years, Jones joined the Japan Society to give a frank and inspiring talk covering cultural difference, leadership techniques, the media and team-building.
In an informal conversation-style event held under Chatham House rules, Jones reflected on a Six Nations campaign in which a resurgent England secured a first Grand Slam since 2003, and looked ahead to the summer tour to Australia. He also looked forward to the 2019 World Cup in Japan. Significantly, Japan’s game against Samoa was watched by a fifth of the Japanese population, making it the biggest national viewing audience in rugby history, allaying fears that the 2019 event would struggle to attract a domestic audience.
As a coach, Eddie Jones is known for maximising the talent available to him. After life as a player, Jones began his coaching career in 1994 with Australian club Randwick’s reserve team. Following spells with Tokai University and Suntory Sungoliath, he became forwards coach of the Japan national team. He won the Trinations title with Australia in 2001, and subsequently guided them to the RWC final in 2003, where they were narrowly beaten by Sir Clive Woodward’s England team. He went on to play a key role in reinvigorating South Africa ahead of their 2007 Rugby World Cup triumph.
After a brief period with Saracens in 2008, Jones returned to Japan in 2009, joining Suntory Sungoliath, coaching them to win the Top League title in 2012. Following this success, he was appointed head coach of Japan in 2012. Prior to the 2015 world cup, Jones’ Japan team achieved a series draw against Wales in 2013 and, in 2014, won the Pacific Nations Cup. Ten consecutive wins took them to 9th in the world rankings – their highest ever position.
He is the first foreign coach for England, and led the team to a first Six Nations Grand Slam victory in thirteen years at the first attempt.