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England rugby coach Eddie Jones fired after poor run

LONDON (AP) — England coach Eddie Jones was fired on Tuesday, less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup.
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FILE - England's head coach Eddie Jones walks with a ball before the start of the rugby union international match between England and Argentina at Twickenham Stadium in London, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022. Jones was fired on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup. Jones, who took charge after the 2015 World Cup, led England to the final of the tournament in 2019 and won three Six Nations titles in his seven years in charge. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

LONDON (AP) — England coach Eddie Jones was fired on Tuesday, less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup.

Jones, who took charge after the 2015 World Cup, led England to the final of the tournament in 2019 and won three Six Nations titles in his seven years in charge.

But a poor 2022 record of six losses, one draw and just five wins in 12 test matches helped bring an end to the Australian’s tenure.

It leaves England searching for a new coach with its opening game at the World Cup in France against Argentina scheduled for Sept. 9, 2023.

“I am pleased with much that we have achieved as an England team and I look forward to watching the team’s performance in the future,” Jones said in a statement from the Rugby Football Union. “Many of the players and I will no doubt keep in touch and I wish them all well in their future careers.”

Jones guided England to a Six Nations Grand Slam in his first tournament as coach in 2016. It kicked off a run of 18 straight victories which ended the following year at the Six Nations, though England would retain the title.

England then reached the final of the 2019 World Cup in Japan, beating defending champion New Zealand in the semifinals before falling to South Africa.

Jones captured a third Six Nations in 2020 before his fortunes started to turn. A fifth-place finish in the tournament in 2021 was followed by England coming third this year.

Pressure continued to build on Jones during the recent autumn internationals as England won just one of four games and was booed off the field after a 27-13 loss to South Africa in the finale at Twickenham.

That led to a review of the England program which signaled the end for Jones.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney noted the “huge contribution” Jones made to English rugby.

“He has the highest win ratio of any previous England head coach and has helped develop the leadership skills of many players and coaches,” Sweeney said. “I am grateful to Eddie for all he has done for England across many areas of the game and the professional way in which he has approached reviewing the performance of the team. He has provided the panel with astute insight and meaningful lessons that will support the team performance going forward.”

Forwards coach Richard Cockerill will take charge of the program on an interim basis, the RFU said.

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More AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Associated Press

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