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Rugby: England bets on Steve Borthwick, nine months from the World Cup


The XV of the Rose, which has just experienced one of its worst years in terms of results, on Monday won the services of Steve Borthwick, the coach of the English champion Leicester, in order to straighten out…

Former England captain Steve Borthwick, who replaces Australia's Eddie Jones, who was fired two weeks ago, "will take over as head coach (...) from today" , for five years, the National Federation (RFU) announced in a press release on Monday.

The first mission of the new coach will begin in just seven weeks, since the English have an appointment at Twickenham with Scotland on February 4, for the first day of the Six Nations Tournament.

By 2022, England had finished the competition in third place, having won just two from five matches.

"We are delighted to welcome Steve back (...). He was our first choice to succeed Eddie", appointed in the fall of 2015, said RFU boss Bill Sweeney, quoted in the press release.

"Rugby Lover"

Warren Gatland again in charge of the Welsh selection in place of Wayne Pivac, the Irishman Ronan O'Gara, the coach of La Rochelle, reigning European champion, or even Scott Robertson, at the head of the New Zealand franchise of the Crusaders, had been approached.

But it was Borthwick, appointed Leicester coach in 2020, who was finally chosen.

He will be assisted in his task by his assistant to the Tigers and ex-international rugby league player, Kevin Sinfield, who will take care of the defense.

The names of the other members of the new management will be announced "in the coming weeks", said the RFU.

"As a little boy, I fell in love with rugby watching the England team play. I want to form a team that inspires many young boys and girls to fall in love with rugby" in turn, reacted Borthwick, quoted in the communicated.

Former international second line (57 caps between 2001 and 2010), having played for Bath and then Saracens, Borthwick, 43, was assistant coach alongside Eddie Jones for eight years for Japan from 2012 to 2015, then for England between 2015 and 2020.

During the Australian's seven-year tenure, England won the Six Nations Championship three times, including a Grand Slam in 2016, and reached the World Cup final in 2019.

"Source of inspiration"

But in 2022, the XV de la Rose had their worst year since 2008 in terms of results, with six defeats, five wins and a draw in 12 games, leading the RFU to sack Eddie Jones on December 6.

"I am deeply honored to be appointed as England's head coach, and I look forward to taking on this challenge," Borthwick said.

"English rugby is full of talent and I want to build a team that wins, that makes the most of our enormous potential and that inspires young people (...). I want the whole country to be proud us and enjoy watching us play," he added.

As for Sinfield, he claimed he knows "what it means to represent your country and to have the chance to do so as a coach is a real honour".

At the World Cup in France (September 8 - October 28, 2023), England will feature in Pool D, alongside Japan, Argentina, Samoa and Chile.

She will play her first match against the Pumas on September 9 at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille.

© 2022 AFP

Source: france24

All news articles on 2022-12-19

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