Eddie Jones plays down 25 per cent pay cut as RFU faces cash crisis

Eddie Jones today insisted his decision to take a 25 per cent pay cut in his reported £700,000 contract as England head coach was not a “ grand gesture” and he played down the significance of the move as the Rugby Football Union faces up to potential losses of £100m due to the impact of the pandemic.

With the Rugby Football Union making 139 redundancies to try and cut costs, Jones is likely to have to continue taking a pay cut and admits he has yet to discover what impact the RFU’s financial problems will have on the his England management set up.

Jones who has returned to his Surrey home from an extended stay in Japan during the lockdown said: “ I am not an economist and all I am is a rugby coach and at some stage I will be told the games and what staff I can have and what players are available. The reality for staff and players is the cuts we have to look at it in terms of what is happening in society I feel for anyone who has had a cut or lost their jobs. We know that is happening at the moment.

“ You have to keep things in perspective and it is a difficult time for sport and we just have to adapt to what is in front of you. We will adapt to any situation. I am not expecting anything and all I worry about what is happening today and whatever comes we will find a solution to it.

“I don’t think it is any grand gesture by me and I was asked to do it and I understand the situation. I worked in a school for three months with no pay (in Australia) and number of us decided to stay and work. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices and the sacrifice I am making personally compared to what other people are making in sport and society is minimal.”

A pay dispute saw Manu Tuilagi quit Leicester and join Sale and Jones revealed he gave the England centre advice about what he should do next. “Manu made up his own mind and we kept in contact the whole time. I gave him some small pieces of advice and he knew what he wanted to do. He is a valuable test player and his performances in the World Cup and Six Nations showed there is more in him. I am delighted about his decision and we are glad he has made it.”

Jones dismissed fears that key England players like Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje could be hampered by agreeing to stay for a season with Saracens in the Championship and added: “I will be comfortable if they are in good form. Players who have a track record of test match success have a pretty good idea of where they are where they need to be. If I look at Owen Farrell it doesn’t matter what game he is playing I will have a good idea of where he is. “

The head coach is still waiting to discover who England will play in their November internationals and said: “ Usually you have plenty of time to prepare. Every team is going to start at zero and you will have certain amount of time to prepare and whoever prepares well will proposer. “