Curious news coming out of The Guardian today, with Wigan apparently being linked with a move to bring Eddie Jones to the club in a coaching capacity. Jones, for those who don’t know, was the coach of the Australian Rugby Union side that lost to England in the 2003 World Cup final, was an assistant coach for the South Africa side that won the 2007 tournament, and is currently coach of Guinness Premiership side Saracens.
If you’ve noticed a lack of Rugby League credentials there, then well done Sherlock! Jones has proven to be a winner wherever he’s gone in Union, and he clearly takes an interest in Rugby League as on his watch the ARU signed Wendall Sailor, Mat Rogers and Lote Tuquiri. However, you do have to wonder how much relevant experience he would be able to bring to perhaps the most demanding club job in British Rugby.
There are two main reasons why I find this idea absurd, both of which should be obvious to people with functioning brains (and indeed most of those without). Firstly, Jones has NO experience coaching League to speak of. That makes him an almighty risky proposition, particularly as I doubt Jones woud be coming cheap. Secondly, in case no one else has noticed, Brian Noble is still the coach of Wigan. You know, Brian Noble? Most successful coach in the Super League era? Guided Wigan away from relegation? And then into the playoffs a year later? That one? I know Noble is a fairly one-dimensional coach and there are plenty of reasons to object to his style but I think it’s hard to argue that Wigan haven’t made advances under his tenure, especially considering the hole they were in when he took charge.
Worringly, Ian Lenegan doesn’t appear to be flat-out denying the story, which usually means that there’s something to it. Nonetheless I would be quite surprised if anything came of this. Even so, a sick, twisted part of me wants to see this come off, because I have little doubt it would be entertaining to watch either way.