Ian McGeechan has named Warren Gatland at the top of his list for potential replacements for Eddie Jones as England head coach.
Jones announced recently that he would finish up in his role with England after the 2023 Rugby World Cup, having first taken the job in 2016.
While England won’t be in need of a replacement for Jones for another two years, the news has sparked discussion about who could be in line to take over from the charismatic Australian.
Former Scotland and British and Irish Lions coach McGeechan was writing in his column for The Telegraph and named Gatland, Andy Farrell and John Mitchell as potential replacements for Jones.
Ian McGeechan on why Warren Gatland is ‘at the top’ of his list.
“If you were offering the job to someone tomorrow, the person at the top of my list, for a two-year appointment to take England to the next World Cup, would probably be Warren Gatland,” McGeechan wrote.
“Simply because Gats has the experience, the track record, knows the players, would be able to gel everyone together and is reasonably available.
“The two other big hitters, and again they would be near the top of my list if you were offering the role to someone tomorrow, would be John Mitchell and Andy Farrell.
“They have experience of working within the England set-up, the former under Eddie, which would ensure a measure of continuity.”
🗣️ Eddie Jones has been speaking to the press after naming a training squad 🌹
Get a reminder of the 45 players that will gather this Sunday ⤵
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) September 21, 2021
Potential replacements for Eddie Jones.
Each of the three men named by McGeechan – Gatland, Farrell and Mitchell – all have plenty of experience as international rugby coaches, although none are currently available.
Gatland will resume his role as head coach of New Zealand Super Rugby side the Chiefs, having taken a year out to coach the Lions in South Africa, although his current contract will end before the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Likewise, Farrell currently has his hands full as Ireland’s head coach, although his contract is also set to end in 2023, which would make him a viable replacement for Jones.
Mitchell, who has acted as both New Zealand and the USA’s head coach in the past, recently left the England set-up to join Wasps’ coaching team after a disappointing Six Nations campaign.
The New Zealander is highly experienced, although he rarely stays in the one place for too long, and last acted as a head coach with South African club side the Bulls in 2018.