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Six Nations: Steve Borthwick wants to extricate himself from the cumbersome shadow of Eddie Jones


Before facing France, the new coach of the XV de la Rose marks his territory by dismissing the emblematic Owen Farrell in particular. A strong and risky choice to assert his authority.

Steve Borthwick hit hard and asserted his authority as the new coach of the XV of the Rose by dismissing the emblematic opener or center Owen Farrell from his starting XV to face the Blues, Saturday (5:45 p.m.), at Twickenham.

A small earthquake across the Channel as the Saracens player, captain since 2019, is an icon of the English team, vice-world champion.

Basic man of his predecessor Eddie Jones, the versatile opener or center had never started a Tournament match as a substitute since the start of his international career in 2012.

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When he took office at the start of the year, the former coach of the Leicester Tigers had nevertheless reinforced Farrell without his duties as captain and had established him during the first three matches of the Tournament (defeat against Scotland, success against Italy and Wales).

Before turning around for the “Crunch”.

Explaining, quietly, that he was not part of his game plan to bring down the Blues.

Creativity against rigor

“As I always do, I went over the game plan we want to put in place, the tactics we want to adopt, our opponent and their strengths, and for this game I have decided to make this choice. “

, he justified.

By fielding Marcus Smith over Owen Farrell, who was

“great when he learned of the decision”


Read also"Baby Rhino", Ali's great-grandson, dyspraxia ... 5 things to know about Ellis Genge, the new captain of the XV of England

The imagination and creativity of the youngest (24 years old), rather than the rigor and classicism of the eldest (31 years old).

Because, if he is sometimes criticized for his more than limited commitment (which earned him a few weeks of suspension), Farrell is a formidable defender.

During the success against the Leek XV on the 3rd day of the Six Nations, the Saracens playing master struck no less than 17 tackles.

And some voices in England are worried about the return, on the French side, of Jonathan Danty who could do damage to the English defense and in particular target the area of ​​the young Harlequins opener.

“Having three world-class openers is great”

But Steve Bortwick is sure of his shot:

"Having Marcus on the ground for the start of the match, then Owen at the end of the match, that's what I think is the right assembly against this opponent."

And to add:

“I take every decision very seriously.

The players deserve it, our fans deserve it, and I want to make the best decisions when building my squad."

The new coach of the Rose also highlights the richness of his workforce at the position of number 10, with Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell, but also George Ford, back in the squad but ultimately not retained.

“It's a fantastic situation to have to choose from such good fly-halfs.

Having three world-class openers is great,

he says.

And for this game, I think it's the right decision to start Marcus.

A strong (and risky) choice, the critics will be virulent in the event of a second failure at Twickenham (after that of entry against Scotland).

But for the former international second line (43 years old, 57 selections between 2001 and 2010), no one is essential, irreplaceable.

"We have a lot of good players, and I said it from the start: we want the players to always fight to be in this 23

," he continues.

“They returned to a very English identity, instilled by Borthwick”

No change, however, in the Rose pack.

Back to the fundamentals of English rugby with a brazen pack.

“As an England team, we have to play the outposts,

he had hammered recently.

And we prepare to play as hard as possible, while playing fair and safe.

I want to play a big role in that.”

Read alsoSix Nations: Steve Borthwick, new captain of an English ship in dry dock

Thibaud Flament, the second line of the Blues, knows English rugby particularly well, having played for Loughborough University and started his professional career with Wasps.

They returned to a very English identity, instilled by Borthwick, who embodies this style a bit,

he explained this week.

He was known for that with the Leicester Tigers, they already had this game identity. It's a team which really has its identity and which plays on this game.


Steve will tell you himself, he is not the most attentive person to get an idea of ​​the emotional state in which people are.

Ellis Genge

Another strong choice from Steve Borthwick: give the captain's armband to the explosive and painful pillar Ellis Genge.

The two men know each other well for having won the title of champion of England with Leicester last year.

Now a Bristol player, Genge told

Rugby World


“Steve will tell you himself, he is not the most attentive person to get an idea of ​​​​the emotional state in which people are. .

I think he struggled to understand that some people could be emotionally strong on some days and depressed on other days.

That's where I tried to help him."

Breaking with Eddie Jones, who relied on a small group of players and was like a fish in water in the media circus with sensational declarations, Steve Borthwick is more "old-fashioned second line".

“I'm going to be authentic and not have fun making jokes.

I leave that to the other coaches”,

launches the bald giant with a weathered face, who has no room for error for his first “Crunch” as a coach.

What's more in "the Temple of Rugby".

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2023-03-10

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