Scott Wisemantel has been appointed attack coach by Australia after leaving England’s backroom team following the World Cup. Wisemantel had been one of Eddie Jones’s key assistants over the past 18 months but has returned to his native Australia.
Wisemantel joined Jones’s coaching staff initially as a consultant for the 2018 summer tour of South Africa following a disappointing Six Nations. Although England lost that series Wisemantel had an immediate impact on their attack and continued to do so this year when Jones’s side scored 24 tries during the Six Nations and 22 across their World Cup campaign.
Jones recently confirmed he, too, had been approached by Rugby Australia before Dave Rennie was appointed as the Wallabies coach but said he did not consider it to be a serious expression of interest.
“I had some informal contact but nothing too formal. I’m committed to a two-year contract to England so it would have been difficult to get out of that,” he said. “It was a convenient conversation for [Rugby Australia] to have to show that they did show some interest but I don’t think they were ever really interested in bringing me back.”
Jones is expected to add multiple coaches to his staff after Neal Hatley left his role as the scrum coach and with Steve Borthwick expected to join Leicester.
The former South Africa assistant Matt Proudfoot, who masterminded the demolition of England’s scrum in the World Cup final, is thought to be under consideration as forwards coach. That would suggest Borthwick, who has been negotiating his release from the Rugby Football Union for some time, may be free to leave for Leicester before the Six Nations.
Kyle Sinckler, who is believed to be a summer target for Bristol, will captain Harlequins in Friday’s Champions Cup match against Ulster. Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Joe Marler have been omitted by Quins, who must win to stand any realistic chance of reaching the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, Exeter expect Stuart Hogg to be available for Sunday’s Champions’ Cup tie against Sale despite the Scottish full-back’s early departure from last week’s reverse fixture. It has subsequently emerged that Hogg felt unwell before kick-off and failed to pass his head injury assessment after telling the doctor he felt dizzy and nauseous. “We’re pretty confident it was actually illness,” said Rob Baxter, his director of rugby. “We’re comfortable that he’s fine.”
The Chiefs’ centre Ollie Devoto is also back in full training with Baxter demanding total concentration from his players this weekend. “The rewards are huge if we put in a good performance this weekend. If we turn up a little nervy and jittery, I don’t mind,” he said. “I’d rather that than us turn up a little bit complacent. We were a little bit on edge in training and that’s normally a really good sign. We are a strong, energetic hard-working team. As long as all our energies are pointed in the right direction we’re a very good side.”