Eddie Jones has taken a chance to have a laugh at his own expense fresh off the back of his sacking as England coach.
The polarising coach will return to Twickenham Stadium in May to lead the Barbarians against former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and his World XV.
The 82,000-capacity stadium was the scene of a raucous England crowd, who let their feelings be known after the home side drew with Ian Foster’s All Blacks during the Spring Tour.
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After a chorus of boos rang out, there were claims that Jones needed to win back the support of fans – only to be axed shortly thereafter by England’s Rugby Football Union.
It’s the second time Jones will have coached the Barbarians, narrowly going down 33-31 to Fiji in 2019.
With the confirmation of his signing, Jones said he was looking forward to returning to the London stadium where he had “so many fond memories”.
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“It’s an incredible honour to be asked to coach the Barbarians for a second time,” said Jones.
“The club showed during the autumn that the values and traditions which make the Barbarians so special are still very much alive.
“Fans can expect to see two top-quality teams, packed full of international players, going all out to catch the eye ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
“I am very much looking forward to returning to Twickenham Stadium – a venue I have so many fond memories of – as head coach of the Barbarians, and I’m more motivated than ever to put on a show.
“Going up against Steve rekindles a great rivalry which first started in our days competing in Super Rugby and progressed into the international arena. It’ll be a great challenge and one I’m sure we’re both relishing.”
Jones’ signing comes amid speculation of his long-term coaching future.
There have been calls for the Australian to return home and help the Wallabies build into the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
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Jones is the latest in a string of coaches to lead the Barbarians following Scott Robertson, Ronan O’Gara, John Mulvihill and Geordan Murphy.
It’s not all good news though. Barbarians player Danny Cipriani, who was vocal in his disdain for Jones, took to social media to post a tongue-in-cheek comment suggesting he might not get a start following his comments.
”There goes my hope for selection,” he wrote with a laughing emoji.
Meanwhile, for Hansen, it’s the first high-profile coaching gig since departing the All Blacks at the end of 2019 following their Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat to England.
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“I’ve coached both for and against the Barbarians during my career, and while you always have to expect the unexpected where they are concerned, you can be certain that come Sunday 28 May we’ll have a hugely entertaining match played in a festival atmosphere,” he said.
“The Rugby World Cup will be firmly on the horizon when this match comes around, and we hope we can showcase many of the players who will go on to be stars of the tournament in France during this Killik Cup clash.”
The Killik Cup will be on the line come May 28.
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