England coach Eddie Jones has reportedly taken steps to secure the services of Richard Cockerill after meeting with the recently resigned Edinburgh chief.
Cockerill, 50, announced his four-year stay in the Scottish capital had come to an end earlier in July, and reports soon sprouted linking the former Leicester Tigers boss with a place on England’s staff.
That speculation looks accurate after the Telegraph reported Cockerill met with Jones in a Leicestershire cafe on Tuesday, presumably to discuss the next move in his coaching career.
The former England hooker earned 27 caps for his country as a player, though his coaching credentials could mean his greatest international contribution is still to come.
England’s coaching team is currently in a depleted state after it was confirmed defence coach John Mitchell will leave to join Wasps ahead of the 2021/22 season.
Attack coach Simon Amor also stepped down following England’s disastrous fifth-place finish at this year’s Six Nations, while Jason Ryles’ move from Australia to become skills coach was axed.
As things stand, scrum coach Matt Proudfoot is the only senior full-time member among Jones’ coaching set-up, with some need for an overhaul following England’s worst Six Nations since 1987.
Cockerill could bring some much-needed pedigree having led Leicester to three Premiership titles as a coach and director during his 12 years at the helm, finishing as runner-up on two other occasions.
The ex-international was largely lauded for his work at Edinburgh in recent years, taking the club into the Pro14 play-offs for the first time in his maiden campaign.
The Telegraph indicated a source close to the situation said Cockerill is ’definitely in the frame’ to land an England coaching role, though it’s understood Top 14 teams in France are also interested.
Cockerill spent two years of his career at Clermont Auvergne and briefly coached high-flyers Toulon in 2017, with some seemingly eager to see him return.
It’s been less than two years since Jones guided the Red Rose to the 2019 Rugby World Cup final, where they suffered a convincing 32-12 defeat to South Africa.
England’s prospects looked much dimmer, however, after they suffered defeats to Scotland, Wales and Ireland in the most recent Six Nations.
It’s been suggested a move onto England’s coaching staff could give Cockerill a shortcut to succeeding Jones, whose contract at the helm is due to expire in 2023.
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