Richard Cockerill 'in the frame' for England role after face-to-face talks with Eddie Jones

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Richard Cockerill 'in the frame' for England role after face-to-face talks with Eddie Jones - PA
Richard Cockerill 'in the frame' for England role after face-to-face talks with Eddie Jones - PA

As the make-up of England’s backroom staff was thrown into fresh turmoil on Wednesday, it was revealed that Eddie Jones had met with Richard Cockerill, the former Leicester director of rugby.

Telegraph Sport has learned that Joe Lewis, the head analyst under head coach Jones, has resigned for “personal reasons”, only days after it was reported that defence coach John Mitchell was leaving to join Wasps, meaning Matt Proudfoot is the only assistant coach remaining in full-time employment.

However, Jones has met Cockerill, who left his role as head coach of Edinburgh by mutual consent last week, at a cafe in Leicestershire. A close source said that Cockerill was “definitely in the frame” for an unspecified role with England, although he is understood to be considering all his options and there is interest from Top 14 clubs.

Cockerill would inject a dose of English bulldog spirit into what was previously a largely foreign coaching group. As a combative hooker who stood face to face with Norm Hewitt in the 1997 during the All Blacks’ haka, Cockerill is the epitome of English belligerence.

As a coach, Cockerill guided Leicester to three Premiership titles as director of rugby before reviving Edinburgh’s fortunes, leading them to a first home semi-final in the Pro14 as well as the quarter-finals of the 2019 Champions Cup.

In addition to Mitchell, Simon Amor departed as England attack coach after a disappointing Six Nations, while skills coach Jason Ryles pulled out of joining Jones’ team due to Covid concerns.

Jones has already lined up Wasps’ Martin Gleeson to be his new attack coach, although that appointment is likely to be linked to when Wasps can bring Mitchell into their set-up.

Worcester’s Mark Jones is considered the prime contender to replace Mitchell as defence coach, although the Rugby Football Union insisted Eddie Jones was speaking to several candidates, including Cockerill.

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