x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Jones fails to keep up with changes

When Eddie Jones walked through the exit door of what he terms the "transit lounge" that is Saracens rugby club last season, the English Premiership lost much of its colour, and no little insight.

When Eddie Jones walked through the exit door of what he terms the "transit lounge" that is Saracens rugby club last season, the English Premiership lost much of its colour, and no little insight. The former Wallabies coach remains one of the sharpest minds in the game and still harbours ambitions of a return to full-time coaching at international level.

Yet, for now, he is forced to be content working in the relative rugby backwater of Japan, where he is in charge of the emerging club side Suntory. He left Saracens, after overseeing three seasons of obvious progress, when the club set its course for a South African makeover under its new majority shareholder, the billionaire Johann Rupert. Jones has no truck with South Africans. He served as a consultant to Jake White when the Springboks won the 2007 World Cup.

Yet he said: "It was quite clear to me that it wasn't the place I wanted to be. I went to England to coach an English team. "If I wanted to coach a South African team I would have gone to South Africa." The Bok take-over at Vicarage Road has seen the arrivals of Ernst Joubert, Schalk Brits and Derick Hougaard, among seven South Africans recruited by new director of rugby Brendan Venter. Jones added: "In the three years that I was involved, the club had made the semi-finals of five of the nine competitions in which we were involved.

"We were building a really good base of young players coming through. A club has to develop its own culture, and one of the problems is that Saracens have been like a fad club. "They have had rushes of players here and there, and it has been more of a transit lounge than a club. "With these new South African players they have brought in it is going to bring new nuances and new baggage to the club.

"Only time will tell to know if that will settled down and produce a winning club. @Email:pradley@thenational.ae