England’s Eddie Jones rules himself out of Lions job and names two better picks

Eddie Jones appears to be further than ever from coaching the British and Irish Lions after reinforcing his stance against taking up a role with rugby's most famous touring team.

England 's head coach has repeatedly suggested in the past he'd be against the idea of leading the Lions, and Jones seems to be as staunch as ever in his stance.

Deliberations are currently ongoing as to whom will lead the Lions in their series against Jones' birth nation, Australia, when they next tour in 2025.

Three-time coach Warren Gatland led his squad to a disappointing 2-1 series loss against South Africa this past summer, leading to speculation selectors could opt for a change rather than retain the New Zealander.

Answering fans as part of a recent Telegraph Q&A, Jones was asked whether he'd be interested in adding the Lions gig to his CV, but he directed attention towards two candidates whom he felt would be better picks.

"Respectfully, no. I am an Australian and I don’t really have any connection to the Lions as such. I think it’d be better for someone from the home countries to do it," the 61-year-old replied.

"I’m also not suited to wearing a blazer 12 months of the year. Someone like Gregor Townsend or Andy Farrell would be better for that job than me."

Both Scotland head coach Townsend and Ireland chief Farrell have previous experience in the Lions set-up.

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Farrell, 46, was defence coach under Gatland when the British party beat Australia on their own soil in 2013, courting further praise for structuring the Lions when they drew against New Zealand four years later.

However, the former England and Great Britainrugby league international has served as Ireland's head coach since 2019 and looks an unlikely pick to juggle that role—or leave altogether—for a shot with the Lions.

Former Scotland star Townsend, 48, earned two caps as part of the squad that beat the Springboks in 1997 and served under Gatland as the team's attack coach for their unsuccessful tour to South Africa last year.

It's not the first time Jones has commented on the apparel in particular being a stifling part of the Lions job, saying in 2019 that he doesn't want to spend "eight weeks in a blazer.”

“That’s an ambassador job. I’m a coach. I’d rather coach the Queensland Sheffield Shield (cricket) team," he added.

Gatland—who could match Sir Ian McGeechan 's record of being Lions coach on four tours if re-elected for 2025—retorted at the time: “I don’t know how you could coach a Lions team in a blazer. I was bemused by that. It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do as a coach.

"There were guys down in the team room at 7-8 in the morning until 9-10 at night, planning and preparing as well as coaching two teams twice a day, getting ready for matches. It is the hardest thing. Maybe that was a subtle way of Eddie ruling himself out of contention.”

The former Wales boss is one of only two non-British or Irish coaches to lead the team (alongside Arthur O'Brien) and already shares one record with McGeechan as the only pair to take over three consecutive tours.

In the same Q&A, Jones insisted the door is "100 per cent" open for Saracens prop Mako Vunipola to return to the England squad after he was controversially omitted from the autumn internationals.


"The door was never closed," Jones said. "He has to keep improving during a difficult part of his career where he has reached a certain level but still needs to strive to improve. That’s the challenge."

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