Eddie Jones has denied he is immune from the sack despite masterminding England’s record winning run after reflecting on the immediacy of modern life that has led to the dismissal of Claudio Ranieri.
Victory over Italy at Twickenham tomorrow would register a 17th successive win but Jones is mindful of the case of Ranieri, who was sacked by Leicester City nine months after steering them to a fairytale Premier League title.
Head coach Jones is contracted until 2019 and has elevated a team that collapsed at their home World Cup to second in the world rankings, overseeing a rare Grand Slam in the process.
Yet when asked if he views his position as bulletproof in light of his success, the Australian said: “No, not at all.
“You see Ranieri – I don’t know the guy, but I know people that do and they all speak of him very highly as a man, an incredibly humble, respectful soccer professional coach.
“It’s quite an amazing story. They were 5,000-1 to win the Premier League. You do that, you coach them to a win and next season you struggle and you get sacked.
“I feel sorry for the guy, I must admit. I feel a lot of sympathy for him because things change, teams change.
“He’s probably doing the same job he did last season but it’s not good enough this year.
“It’s a hard job and you can understand why coaches are so insecure, why we are always looking over our shoulder.
“It’s saddening when you see someone who’s done something absolutely marvellous to be sacked.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever been sacked, but it’s a humiliating experience. He won’t be walking round Leicester with his head held high, he’ll be feeling terrible.
“I wasn’t surprised that he was sacked because you know how football thinks. Rugby will be the same, there’s no doubt, because everyone wants instant results.
“I’ll lose a game and people will be asking, ‘When’s he on the plane home?’. That’s the reality of sport these days. That’s the reality of life.
“Everyone wants quick fixes but the reality in sport is that you don’t get quick fixes. Every sport gets more commercial and when it gets more commercial, people want short-term fixes.”
Jones accepts that coaches in all sports are at the mercy of the short-termism that means failure has instant consequences.
“Everything in life is now short-term. Everyone’s got a mobile phone, they want to know the information about everything today, at that moment,” Jones said.
“Before you used to wait for the newspaper to come, now you get the information straight away. So life’s all about short-term and the same thing has happened in sport.
“Everyone wants results like that and if you don’t get them soon, you know you are going to be saying goodbye.”
While one Italian departs the Premier League, another has surged to the summit and it was Chelsea boss Antonio Conte who became the latest visitor to England’s Surrey training base this week.
“He doesn’t know much about rugby, so I’m not too worried about him sharing our secrets with Italy. He’s a very impressive guy, I really like his attitude,” Jones said.
“You can see from the way his team plays that they train to play hard – they run hard. And that comes from him.
“There aren’t too many Premier League teams that want to learn from rugby teams, he set up the appointment himself.
“If I was a player in a Conte dressing room, I don’t think I’d be trying to shake the tree. He knows what he wants, he knows what he wants from his team and if they don’t want to do it, they won’t be there.
“It’s a nice easy story to say players have money and power but if you have the right structure with the right people, then the power’s in the right place.”
Ben Te’o will start a Test for the first time after being named at outside centre for tomorrow’s clash with Italy.
Te’o replaces Jonathan Joseph to form a new-look centre partnership with Owen Farrell after winning all five of his previous caps off the bench.
“Ben Te’o at 13 gives us another way of playing the game and we are excited about seeing him, George Ford and Owen Farrell play together in the midfield,” added Jones.
George Ford continues to pull the strings at fly-half but he starts alongside a new half-back partner in former Leeds Tykes Academy product Danny Care, who replaces Ben Youngs.
The two remaining changes to the team that toppled Wales 21-16 in Cardiff see Jonny May restored to the right wing, forcing Jack Nowell to the bench, and James Haskell return at openside.
World player of the year nominee Farrell will lead the team out at Twickenham in recognition of his 50th cap.
Jones said: “I know the Twickenham crowd will give Owen Farrell a big cheer.”