Sir Ian McGeechan has named the three contenders at the top of his list for potential replacements for Eddie Jones as England head coach.
Jones announced recently that he would finish up in his role with England after the 2023 Rugby World Cup, having first taken the job in 2016.
“If you were offering the job to someone tomorrow, the person at the top of my list, for a two-year appointment to take England to the next World Cup, would probably be Warren Gatland,” McGeechan wrote.
“Simply because Gats has the experience, the track record, knows the players, would be able to gel everyone together and is reasonably available.”
He also believes current Ireland boss Andy Farrell will be in the mix.
“The two other big hitters, and again they would be near the top of my list if you were offering the role to someone tomorrow, would be John Mitchell and Farrell.”
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Sir Ian McGeechan’s dream rugby XV
Fullback: JPR Williams (Wales) – “Not a staggeringly original choice, I’ll admit. But to my mind the only one. If I’m going to be picking a dream XV over the next few days then I want JPR at the back. No question.”
Left-wing: Jonah Lomu (New Zealand) – “Illness and injury ultimately slowed him down. But his performances at the 1995 World Cup, just as the game was turning professional, will never be forgotten. The game needed a superstar, and it got one in Lomu. He was brilliant for rugby.”
Right-wing: John Kirwan (New Zealand) – “He had an all round game; he could carry the ball through heavy traffic, he could offload, he was like an extra back-rower at times. Plus, he had natural effortless pace. He ended up scoring 35 tries for the All Blacks and was instrumental as they went through their unbeaten spell of games between 1987 and 1990.”
Outside-centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland) – “His ability to get back on his feet after tackling to compete for the ball was extraordinary, and ensured he always had an impact on the game, whatever type of game it was. He was such a natural talent.”
Inside-centre: Philippe Sella (France) – “Sella and O’Driscoll were powerful men. They could stop a forward in his tracks. I think as a pair they would dominate any midfield and I like the thought of them together.”