At the centre of the new extension to Eddie Jones' contract until 2021 are two things: clarity and common sense.
This is a win-win situation for the RFU and English rugby. England gets to keep Jones for a further two years to carry on the good work and then, finally, get a plan together for succession, something that has been lacking in the professional era.
This signals a new no-excuse culture from the RFU. The two-year extension works for Jones -- he clearly loves the job, and that relentless desire to win seems undimmed -- while the RFU effectively buys itself a further two years to identify the man to replace the enigmatic Australian.
Jones' reign since taking over England in 2015 has been hugely successful. He has a record of 22 wins from 23 games, two Six Nations titles from two attempts and they are the team best placed to challenge the All Blacks at the next Rugby World Cup in 18 months' time.
The man himself is not a fan of personal acclaim. He has always said that it is the players who deserve praise for success, he has just inherited a supremely talented bunch slowly rising to peak ability and form.
But there has been an element of his magic dust: from throwing sweets at Ben Youngs as a message he needs to take fitness more seriously, to masterminding their 3-0 series win over Australia. Just as vital has been an ability to put himself in the firing line whenever criticism has been levelled at England. Too often in the past the coach of England has taken criticism personally; Jones knows how to play the game, soak it up and then channel it into motivation instead of spite.
For all those hundreds of times that Jones said he would be leaving after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, there were lingering thoughts that maybe, just maybe, the RFU could persuade him to stay a little longer. The marriage was working. He always said he would be on the beach in Barbados watching cricket after the next global gathering, but he has opted for Bagshot instead. Passion for the job has become too alluring.
Back in 2011 when Martin Johnson left England, the RFU went for an interim appointment to buy time in Stuart Lancaster. His root-and-branch overhaul and constant dialogue over transforming English rugby's culture won him a full-time role and then a contract extension in Oct. 2014 which would have taken him through to 2020.
Then the World Cup nadir happened -- an embarrassing pool stage exit essentially clinched by a horrifying meltdown against Wales, and on home soil, too. Lancaster departed and off went then chief executive Ian Ritchie to Cape Town, cheque book in hand, to tempt Jones out of his new role with the Stormers. At the heart of all of that was the fact that there was no succession plan, the long-term future had been ripped apart by results.
However, with England currently in the ascendancy, the RFU is preparing now to prevent a repeat of the post-RWC debacle in 2019.
"We now have a robust succession planning process in place which will avoid the historically disruptive pattern of resetting the coaching team and performance system every four years," said Steve Brown, Ritchie's successor as chief executive of the RFU.
So from the end of the 2019-20 season the RFU will bring in a new head coach to work under Jones; this may yet be someone from their current backroom staff -- Steve Borthwick is immensely well regarded -- or they may look local or abroad. Someone like Rob Baxter, currently in charge at Exeter Chiefs, has been mentioned in the past, or perhaps the RFU will look back to the southern hemisphere. Get this wrong -- again, as they did with Lancaster's ill-conceived contract extension a year before the last World Cup -- and the RFU will be back in the firing line.
But under the impressive leadership of Brown, you just feel they will get it right. Either way, the RFU currently has time and space to work out the succession plan and then execute it. There is little to no chance of Jones staying on beyond August 2021, that beach in Barbados will prove to be too tempting by then, but it does open the door of him coaching the British & Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa if an agreement could be found with the RFU.
Succession planning has long been the RFU's Achilles heel but with Jones staying in the hotseat a little longer, they now have every chance to get the next appointment right.
In the meantime, the RFU wants more of the same -- success, silverware and ultimately, a World Cup.