Eddie Jones has dismissed the role of Lions head coach as an “ambassador job” while refusing to rule out the possibility of succeeding Michael Cheika as Australia boss.
Jones insists he has no interest in leading the elite of British and Irish rugby to South Africa in 2021, in the process taking a dig at Warren Gatland who was in charge of the previous two tours.
Gatland recently masterminded his third Grand Slam with Wales and is favourite to continue in the post.
“The last thing I want to do is spend eight weeks in a blazer,” Jones told the Brisbane Courier Mail.
“That’s an ambassador job. I’m a coach. I’d rather coach the Queensland Sheffield Shield (cricket) team.”
Gatland is also favourite to replace Jones after this autumn’s World Cup when his reign as Wales boss ends.
Beyond Japan 2019, Jones’ future is clouded in doubt despite a contract extension lasting until 2021 that is dependent on performance at the global showpiece.
And the Australian has done nothing to clarify his position by keeping the door ajar to reprising a role he performed from 2001-05 when the World Cup is over.
“I don’t think I would ever say ‘never’, but it’s not something I have really thought about,’ Jones said.
“One thing Australia are not short of is talent. Cheika is in a good position. This could be his last hurrah and he’s got nothing to lose.”
Exeter boss Rob Baxter insists his side will not be resting on their laurels despite sealing a Gallagher Premiership semi-final spot with five games still remaining.
The Chiefs moved nine points clear at the top of the standings as well as securing a play-off berth for the fourth successive season with a 29-10 win over Bath at Sandy Park.
It is the earliest that a team has secured a semi-final place in Premiership history but Chiefs director of rugby Baxter is determined to ensure there is no let-up from his league leaders.
He said: “We are ticking off some milestones but we don’t want to splutter through the last five games as we want to build a belief in ourselves and take some belief away from the others.
“The squad will have a break now because we are out of Europe and playing two games less than Saracens may help us in the long run.”
Exeter had to overcome the pre-match loss of Gareth Steenson but still managed tries from Ollie Devoto, Olly Woodburn and Jack Yeandle.
There was also a penalty try award with Steenson’s replacement, Joe Simmonds, converting two and adding a penalty.
Baxter added: “There was an element of rustiness in our game as we had to integrate our internationals so it didn’t quite flow.
“Losing Gareth Steenson with a calf twinge in the warm-up disrupted our plans as Joe Simmonds hasn’t had of lot game time lately, but we overcame that as Joe played exceptionally well.”
Bath had the lion’s share of possession but their only reward came from a single try from Nathan Catt and five points from Rhys Priestland’s boot.
A victory would have seen Bath climb into the top five and head coach Todd Blackadder was left to reflect on missed opportunities.
He said: “Two or three tries went begging as we went away from our systems, especially in the red zone.
“We created opportunities but didn’t execute them, which you have to do against Exeter otherwise you lose.
“I thought we played pretty well but in the first half, our kicking was poor as it allowed them to counter-attack and our ball-carriers weren’t good enough as we wanted quick ball.”
Next up for seventh-placed Bath is a fixture at Twickenham against local rivals Bristol in a fortnight’s time.
Blackadder added: “Our target is to fight for everything and we want to finish in the top six.”
Bath captain Will Chudley, making his first appearance at Sandy Park since his departure from the Chiefs, also felt his side should have got more out of the West Country derby.
He said: “Our performance was good in the first 50 minutes but you have to capitalise if you are going to stay in the game.
“We had kickable penalties but we back our set-piece to deliver, but it didn’t today as a killer instinct was needed.
“We didn’t get the ball wide enough in the second half but this league is crazy as anyone can beat anyone so there’s still a lot to play for.”
Cardiff Blues have announced the signing of Wales winger Josh Adams from Worcester ahead of next season.
The 23-year-old helped Wales to win the Grand Slam in the Six Nations last week and scored three tries during the tournament, including efforts against England and Scotland.
“It is great to be returning to Wales and I cannot wait to link up with Cardiff Blues next season,” he said on Cardiff Blues’ website.
“It is a young and exciting squad, with a good blend of experience, which has a bright future and I’m looking forward to contributing towards that.
“I will always be grateful to Worcester Warriors for giving me the opportunity to become a professional player and I have loved my time at Sixways.
“But to play for Wales I need to play in Wales and Cardiff Blues is the best fit for me. I’m really looking forward to the next chapter at Cardiff Arms Park.”
Adams was the Premiership’s joint-top scorer last season with 13 tries.
Blues head coach John Mulvihill is confident he can further develop his potential and match the Welsh club’s own drive for success.
“It’s an exciting signing for the region and demonstrates our strong rugby ambition going forward,” Mulvihill said.
“Josh is a player we can build success around. He brings genuine hunger to succeed, enormous energy and the skill-set and speed to make a real difference to our group.
“Just from watching the Six Nations, you can see he’s a really busy player, who makes big contributions both in attack and defence, and is a good team man.
“We’re looking forward to getting him on board for next season.”
Adams’ performances during the Six Nations earned him a spot on the six-man shortlist for player of the tournament – won by team-mate Alun-Wyn Jones. Hadleigh Parkes and Liam Williams made up four of the names, with the other two being England duo Jonny May and Tom Curry.