Richard Cockerill is set to join a revamped England coaching staff, with the appointment of the former international hooker expected to be officially confirmed next week.
Last month, Sportsmail revealed that Eddie Jones had held talks with Cockerill, who had become available after leaving his post as head coach of Edinburgh — where he spent four seasons.
Sources indicated the 50-year-old was keen to join the England set-up if an offer was forthcoming and now it is understood that a deal is close to being finalised.
Richard Cockerill is set to join the England coaching staff after holding talks with Eddie Jones
Cockerill is poised to be brought into Jones’s new management team with a remit to oversee the lineout and contact work — in a close alliance with forwards coach Matt Proudfoot. However, it is thought that remit may be expanded once he has become established.
The imminent appointment will follow confirmation that Martin Gleeson is taking charge of the attack and it will mean the arrival of another homegrown coach, soon after Simon Amor’s ill-fated stint came to an end.
It also follows the sudden departure of Jones’s senior assistant, John Mitchell, who has been released to take up a role at Wasps.
Cockerill is one of the most successful English coaches of the era. He guided Leicester to three Premiership titles and, during his eight years in charge, the Tigers were a fixture in the play-offs. They declined after his departure.
He then performed a salvage operation at Toulon before taking Edinburgh into the Pro 14 play-offs for the first time in his first season.
Meanwhile, Jones has scrapped plans for a trip to Tbilisi next week, due to the prospect of having to quarantine on his return to the UK.
Head coach Jones has scrapped plans to spend time alongside Georgia’s management team
England’s head coach was due to spend time with Georgia’s management team next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday but the mission has been aborted after Georgia were placed on the Government’s travel red list in last week’s review.
A visit from Jones, to pass on some expertise, would have been a boost to Georgia’s rugby team at a difficult time.
Their own head coach, Levan Maisashvili, is in a critical condition on a ventilator in hospital in Johannesburg, more than a month after contracting Covid-19 when his side played South Africa. The virus has left him with lung damage.
Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby, has stirred the pot ahead of disciplinary action by World Rugby in relation to his outspoken attack on the integrity of match officials during the Lions series.
Charges are due to be announced next week but Erasmus was back on social media on Thursday with what appeared to be a swipe at his critics and the authorities.
He posted a fable about a row between a tiger and a donkey, which ends with the tiger being punished, even though he is right.
It ends: ‘The worst waste of time is arguing with the fool and fanatic who doesn’t care about truth or reality. Never waste time on arguments that don’t make sense.’