Super Rugby franchise the Stormers have for the first time admitted that newly appointed coach Eddie Jones could leave just weeks after taking over the post.
Media reports suggest former Wallabies coach Jones, who led Japan to three wins at the recent Rugby World Cup, will take over the vacant England national team head coach role in the coming days.
The Stormers vehemently denied this earlier in the week, but on Thursday suggested they were unsure as to whether Jones would remain.
“Western Province Rugby is aware of the speculation regarding Eddie Jones’s future,” director of rugby Gert Smal told South Africa’s Sport24.
“No further comment will be made until we have final clarity on the situation.”
But two British newspapers say Jones will be in place when England kick off their Six Nations campaign in February after the Rugby Football Union agreed on STG100,000 ($A214,700) compensation with the Stormers.
Jones, who would become England’s first overseas coach, said on Tuesday whoever succeeds Lancaster must have greater control over the country’s Test players.
“How can you manage your players when they are controlled by other organisations?” Jones said in an interview with the website ESPN Scrum.
“That is the single greatest task ahead of whoever is going to be appointed as the next England coach.”
Jones led Japan to their best-ever World Cup showing last month in England, where they managed a shock 34-32 win over South Africa.
He also coached the Wallabies to the World Cup final in 2003 and was an assistant to Jake White when the Springboks won the 2007 tournament.