Australian Eddie Jones has been appointed as the first foreign coach of the England rugby team on a contract taking him through the 2019 World Cup, the Rugby Football Union said on Friday.

The 55-year-old former Australia and Japan coach replaces Stuart Lancaster, who stepped down in the wake of the hosts' pool-stage exit from the World Cup.

South Africa's Western Province had earlier paved the way for the announcement by releasing Jones from a three-year contract he had just signed to take over as coach of the Cape Town-based Stormers Super Rugby side.

"The opportunity to take the reins in possibly the world's most high-profile international rugby job doesn't come along every day... and I feel fortunate to be given the opportunity," Jones said in a news release.

"I believe the future is bright for England."

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