In what was little surprise to the Rugby Union world, England after getting rid of Eddie Jones, have replaced the Australian with Leicester’s Steve Borthwick. The new England coach, comes in, with a World Cup just nine months away.
Kevin Sinfield, his right-hand man at The Tigers, joins him as the RFU negotiated the release of the contracts of both men. A move, which some may see as a bit risky with a World Cup on the horizon, can be looked at in two ways.
One way is that Australian Jones had a poor 2022 and needed to be replaced. Harshly, this argument does have some substance, but the other side is, it’s nine months away from a World Cup!
Memorably England won the World Cup in 2003 and did get to the World Cup final in the last time out, but this time round, there will be a transitional period. Steve Borthwick, is his own man and will have his ideas.
The 43-year-old, who has 57 caps for his country, comes in with a big reputation. Borthwick beat-off competition from Farrell senior and Richard Cockerill amongst homegrown coaches.
New Zealander Warren Gatland, who has since returned to Wales, replacing Wayne Pivac, who replaced him, was another name mentioned for the role. As for Borthwick’s predecessor he has been linked with a couple of jobs.
An emotional return to Australia has been mooted, as well as a new challenge with the USA. Sport is a results-based game, of course, it is. In his opening few games if he wins then Borthwick is a genius, the next Sir Clive Woodward, lose and the rugby world will call him the next Martin Johnson.
Steve Borthwick has big shoes to fill, especially as Jones had a win percentage of 73%, which was even better than Sir Clive’s. Borthwick’s first game will be the Calcutta Cup as England take on Scotland in their first Six Nations campaign.
So this is a gentle introduction into an International Rugby Union head coach role for Borthwick? Scotland will be sure to see to that.
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