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11:24 1 January 2016

Rugby: Report, source suggest possible twist in process to replace Jones

By Rich Freeman
TOKYO, Jan. 1, Kyodo

The convoluted process to replace Eddie Jones as Japan coach took a twist Friday with a source confirming a report from England that Stuart Lancaster could possibly replace the man who took over from him as England coach.

The Sun newspaper reported that Lancaster -- who resigned after becoming the first coach to fail to take a Rugby World Cup host through to the knockout stages -- has been offered the Japan coaching job.

"The 2019 World Cup hosts want the Cumbrian on a four-year deal and can match the 350,000 pound-a-year (approximately 63.1 million yen) he was paid by the RFU (Rugby Football Union)," says the report.

Former All Black and Japan international Jamie Joseph was expected to replace Jones, with multiple sources saying he was the top choice for head coach of the Brave Blossoms.

However, a planned announcement to make the decision official in the week before Christmas was put off with some details of the 46-year-old's contract yet to be ironed out.

Two sources confirm that negotiations with Joseph, who played for New Zealand at the 1995 World Cup and for Japan in 1999, and led the Highlanders to the Super Rugby title this year, have stalled over financial terms.

"Joseph wants a lot of money apparently," one source told Kyodo News, adding that it was possible Lancaster could get the job and that he was interested in a move to Japan.

The second source confirmed that money was a problem but he could not confirm if that was a result of Joseph's demands or the amount needed to pay in compensation to the Highlanders, with whom Joseph is contracted until August.

The report from England suggests Lancaster has been thinking about coaching abroad to restore his reputation and while a Super Rugby franchise may be his preferred choice, a return at international level is bound to appeal.

With Japan likely to field an Under 20s side in the Asian Rugby Championship, whoever takes over the job will need to be in place ahead of Japan's June 18 test against Scotland.




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