England rugby coach Jones rules himself out of Lions running

London (AFP) - England coach Eddie Jones insisted Sunday he would not be in charge of the British and Irish Lions when the combined side tour New Zealand next year.

The Australian has been touted as a candidate to lead the Lions after overseeing a dramatic transformation in England's fortunes since the hosts suffered a first-round exit at last year's World Cup.

Jones, who replaced the sacked Stuart Lancaster, guided England to a Six Nations Grand Slam -- their first since their World Cup-winning year of 2003 when they beat an Australia side coached by Jones in the Sydney final.

And Saturday saw England secure a first series win on Australian soil when a 23-7 win over Jones's compatriots in Melbourne gave them an unassailable 2-0 lead in a three-match series with the Wallabies ahead of next week's concluding Test in Sydney.

England are now second, behind New Zealand, in the world rankings, having been eighth when Jones -- who guided Japan to a stunning upset win over South Africa at the World Cup -- took charge.

Jones's coaching record saw him first linked with the Lions role back in March.

But he said Sunday his commitment to England, who've now won eight Tests in a row under his leadership, and the country's governing Rugby Football Union meant it was one he could not take up in 2017.

"I am honoured to be thought of in that area but I have a massive commitment to England and the RFU and I can't afford to spend any time away from the team," Jones told BBC Radio Five's Sportsweek programme.

"While it might be nice to do it professionally my job is to make England the best in the world and I am going to do that 100 percent.

"So unfortunately I am unavailable for the Lions. Absolutely no.

"We have improved the team but we want to keep on improving and we will not be happy until we get to number one in the world

"I can't ask for more but we want more. We want to be the best in the world."

New Zealand's world champion All Blacks have long been regarded as a rugby union superpower.

Next year will see the Lions bidding for just their second series win on New Zealand soil when they look to emulate the celebrated 1971 team, featuring such rugby greats as Wales' Gerald Davies, Barry John and Gareth Edwards, as well as Ireland's Mike Gibson, Fergus Slattery and Willie John McBride, that won a four-Test campaign 2-1 with one draw.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting