Eddie Jones insists there is no contingency plan for replacing Paul Gustard after dismissing reports that England’s defence coach could leave as “rumours”.
Gustard has been interviewed for the vacant head coach’s role at Harlequins created by John Kingston’s departure and is thought to be on a three-man shortlist that also features Shaun Edwards and Ben Ryan.
The identity of the successful candidate is to be announced either on Friday or early next week, but Jones has distanced Gustard from the post by stating he will be part of England’s tour to South Africa.
“I don’t have a contingency plan for staff, I don’t have one for every staff member. If a situation arises then I’ll deal with it,” Jones said.
“I don’t know anything to the contrary (Gustard travelling to South Africa). I don’t deal in rumours. If I dealt in rumours I’d see shadows in the corner of every room.
“No I haven’t spoken to Paul, why would I? I don’t know, I don’t deal in rumours.
“If I dealt in rumours I’d be a nutcase and I’m close enough to that as it is, so I don’t want to get any closer.”
When asked if he would encourage any of his backroom staff to take up a position at a club, Jones stated his only commitment is to England.
“I’m not a career development coach. I don’t develop careers for coaches. My job is to win at international level,” Jones said.
“I appoint the best coaches I can find and then they work with me and we try to win games of rugby.
“Everyone is different. Some people want to be a head coach, some people want to be an assistant coach their whole life.”
England are coming to the end of a five-day training camp in Brighton held in preparation for their non-cap international against the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday week.
They will be reinforced by those players from the losing clubs in Saturday’s Aviva Premiership semi-finals and Jones plans to field his strongest possible team for the last home fixture of the 2017-18 season.
“The Barbarians match is a warm-up game and it’s treated as a warm-up game. We want to play well, but it’s there to get the team ready to play South Africa,” Jones said.