England will know by the end of the month whether the summer tour to Japan will go ahead having extended the contract of the head coach, Eddie Jones, until the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Jones, who is in Japan where his wife is visiting her family, said he signed up for another three years because he had unfinished business with England – beaten by South Africa in the World Cup final last year.
“Eddie was always our first choice,” said the Rugby Football Union’s chief executive, Bill Sweeney. “Our immediate thoughts are with the country after a massive number of fatalities yesterday and we wanted to add a little piece of good news.
“The current crisis means there is now an unprecedented amount of dialogue between unions throughout the world and the relationship between north and south has never been better. We are in regular talks with World Rugby and conversations were being held about the July tours. It is too early to say now what will happen and we expect to make a decision at the end of April.”
England are the favourites to win the Six Nations if the postponed matches in this year’s tournament are rescheduled but Jones has his sights set on world domination. “The goal is still to be the best team the world has ever seen,” he said.
“We aspire to be a team that everyone remembers. We have played some good rugby over the last four years and we can play even better rugby in the next three years and that’s the challenge ahead. Having done the four years I felt the project wasn’t finished.
“There’s still a lot of growth in the team. I wanted to make sure in this year’s Six Nations that I could still have an effect on the team and still improve it. I think I can do that and it is a good fit for me to continue. It is still a relatively young side and I think I can still add something. It was an important tournament for me and I am honoured to continue.”
Sweeney said the RFU had sorted out promotion and relegation in all the leagues below the Premiership based on the record of clubs up to the point the game shut down on 14 March. It means Newcastle will be promoted from the Championship where Saracens will be playing when next season starts.