26 Aug 2015

Jones to leave Japan after World Cup

6:26 am on 26 August 2015

The Japan Rugby Football Union has announced that national coach Eddie Jones will step down after the Rugby World Cup to take on a "different challenge".

Japan rugby coach Eddie Jones

Japan rugby coach Eddie Jones Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The organisation said the 55-year-old Australian, who has been the Brave Blossoms' coach since 2012, will resign on November 1st. His contract was due to expire this year.

The decision was approved by the group's board of directors, with Jones also to quit as the director of rugby at Japan's new Super Rugby side.

A new coach will be chosen after the World Cup starting next month, when Japan will accelerate their preparations to host the tournament in 2019.

"I believe the Japan team will further evolve towards the 2019 World Cup with an excellent coach," Jones said in a Japanese-language statement.

"I will be taking on a different challenge, but the Japan team will always remain in my heart.

"I want to make this year's World Cup a completion of my job as head coach," he added.

Last week reports said Jones had agreed a two-year deal starting in 2016 with South Africa's Stormers, and that the coach had acknowledged talks with the team.

JRFU general secretary Noriyuki Sakamoto said it was Jones who approached his organisation about the resignation.

Jones took over from All Blacks legend John Kirwan in April 2012. He earlier guided the Wallabies to the 2003 World Cup final, which they lost to England.

Jones, who is half-Japanese, also served as adviser to South Africa when they won the World Cup in 2007.

Jones suffered a stroke while Japan coach in 2013, but he made a full recovery and has overseen a drastic improvement in their fortunes.

Last year the Brave Blossoms broke into the world's top 10 after 10 straight wins culminating in victory over Six Nations side Italy.

At next month's World Cup in England, Japan will be aiming to improve a poor record at the tournament where their only win so far was against Zimbabwe in 1991.

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