Jones brings AFL experience to England

by AAP

England coach Eddie Jones will draw on four decades of AFL knowledge with his appointment of Neil Craig as head of high performance for the Roses' senior rugby union team.

The 61-year-old Craig recently left Carlton where he was director of coaching, development and performance.

Previous to the Blues, Craig was the head of coaching strategy and development at Essendon; the director of sports performance at the Melbourne Demons; and took Adelaide to five finals series in a row.

Jones has recognised the fitness and planning expertise of Craig, who is just one of several appointments to the England senior team.

Once again, he is also bringing in Melbourne NRL assistant coach Jason Ryles from the premiership-winning team to help England prepare for their international season.

"And we've got Neil Craig who's an ex-AFL coach coming in as a consultant for highest performance to look how we operate and see how we can improve," Jones told the Rugby England website on Friday.

"We're being quite progressive in that area, I think.

"We want the environment to be the best in the world and, to do that, we continually have to bring in people who have got more knowledge than we've got."

Craig, a veteran of 319 SANFL games, was the Crows' fitness adviser in their back-to-back premiership victories in 1997-98.

In 2004, he took over as Adelaide's caretaker coach and, after being awarded the permanent senior position, he guided the club to successive preliminary finals in his first two seasons, and five-consecutive finals appearances from 2005-09.

Craig's brief primarily focuses on improving player leadership and developing England's coaches.

He will join England during camp next week when the squad travels to Portugal to begin their preparations for Tests against Argentina (November 11), Australia (November 18) and Samoa (November 25) at Twickenham.