Eddie Jones on the Guardiola training session that opened his eyes 1 year ago

Eddie Jones on the Guardiola training session that opened his eyes

Jones is a huge fan of the Manchester City manager

He might be head coach of the England rugby team, but Eddie Jones seeks inspiration from football - namely, Pep Guardiola.


The Spaniard is 11 years his junior, but Jones is a big admirer of the Manchester City manager's coaching style. Speaking to SportJOE ahead of the new England rugby kit announcement with Umbro, Jones said:

"The reason I like Pep - and I was speaking to another coach about it yesterday - I was coaching Japan at that time, and Japan's record hadn't been good.

"I knew the only way we could be competitive at the Rugby World Cup was to play a fast, fluid game where the ball's moving around with pace.

"At that stage, that was about 2010 or 2011, Barcelona were at their peak, Spain were the dominant football team in the world, and they had this tiny midfield where the ball was zinging around."

Eddie Jones visited Pep Guardiola when he was manager of Bayern Munich. (Photo: Getty)

Despite the differences between the two sports, Jones thought rugby could learn from Guardiola's tiki taka revolution.

"I thought, 'Why not go and visit a football coach that coaches like that?' So I got a contact to go and see Pep at Bayern.

"I watched him train and I was really impressed by his intensity at the session. They focused on a fundamental skill of receiving the ball, and still being able to see in front. They weren't turning their backs to the goal, they were making sure they kept open."

Even football-specific drills were a source of inspiration for Eddie Jones.

"They played a seven versus seven rotational game for about 20 minutes, and it was one of the best sport coaching sessions I've seen.


"Ribery, Müller - some of the greats of world football - they were all 100% engaged."

Jones led England to the 2019 Rugby World Cup final. (Photo: Getty)

Eventually, Jones got some time to chat one-on-one with Guardiola.


"I had to wait around until 7pm to meet him, because he had a busy day. But then we spoke for maybe two or three hours, a lot of it about movement. Pep said he had studied rugby and European handball to find a way the ball could be moved quickly to create space."

Pep Guardiola is not the only football coach Eddie Jones has learned from, however. Jones also met Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning manager Marcello Lippi.

One of Lippi's quotes still resonates with Jones, to this day.

"Lippi was saying - 'A coach's job is to make sure your team plays with your personality - but allow each player's personality to live'."

Eddie Jones is an Umbro ambassador. Umbro will be launching its new England Rugby kit on September 7. For more information visit: www.umbro.co.uk/rugby