Johnson decided to stand down after presiding over England’s disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign, which ended with a quarter-final defeat to France. Jones insisted the rewards of getting England back on track were “enormous” with the 2015 World Cup being played on home soil.
He told BBC Radio Five Live: “You’d always be interested in coaching England. It has got a fantastic domestic competition, very, very good players and you have just got to get the right programme in place and they should be good enough to win the next World Cup.”
Jones led the Wallabies to the 2003 World Cup final, where they were beaten by the England team captained by Johnson, and helped coach South Africa to victory four years later. He said he would not be put off by the chaotic state of the Rugby Football Union’s senior management.
“Over the last period of time England rugby has lost its way and you’d have to question the people in place now,” Jones said.
“That is the challenge of getting it right. If you get it right, the benefits are absolutely enormous. That is the challenge of it and that is the exciting part of it.
“You’ve got to find the right style of play, just as [Sir Clive] Woodward did over that period [up to 2003] work with the clubs and ensure the players are in peak condition.”
England’s elite rugby director Rob Andrew must act swiftly, with the RBS Six Nations opener at Murrayfield looming on 4 February. The RFU came out fighting on Wednesday in defence of Andrew’s record at Twickenham by issuing some carefully-chosen statistics. But, for all the Grand Slams won by the under-18s and under-20s, the RFU failed to mention that the senior England team have lost 31 of their 66 Tests since his appointment.
On Twitter, the RFU chose to highlight England’s run of ten victories in 13 Tests this year rather than their disappointing overall record on Andrew’s watch. The RFU received a fiercely critical response. Many fans questioned how Andrew can claim any credit for England’s age-group successes when he appeared not to accept responsibility for the Test side’s failings this week. Andrew has overseen the departure of Andy Robinson, Brian Ashton and now Johnson, who took the decision to bow out after England’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to France.
England have enjoyed success at age-group level, where Stuart Lancaster runs an academy structure which has developed the likes of Ben Youngs and Alex Corbisiero.
Arguably Andrew’s greatest contribution to the RFU has been around the negotiating table, where he has delivered an agreement with the clubs over elite player access.
The English qualified player scheme has also been a success, leading to 67 per cent of matchday squads in the Aviva Premiership being 23 or under and English.
Nevertheless, Andrew was expected to face a tough examination of his role during a World Cup review meeting in London.
Professional Game Board chairman Ian Metcalfe said after the meeting: “Further work will be carried out in the next week and recommendations will be made to the RFU board of directors on 30 November.”