England’s new coach Steve Borthwick says he wants to lead his side out onto the field to a rapturous response just a few months after it was booed off.
His long-awaited signing by England’s Rugby Football Union to replace Eddie Jones as head coach was finally confirmed on Monday.
After lengthy negotiations, Leicester Tigers released the Premiership Rugby coach to lead the national side into the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
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He’ll have just 47 days to get his side up to speed before the first match of the forthcoming Six Nations in February against Scotland at Twickenham Stadium.
At the announcement, Borthwick spoke passionately about the task ahead with little more than a month to prepare his side for its first titanic task before the Rugby World Cup.
“To be appointed to this role fills me with incredible pride and I’m honored to take on this job,” said Borthwick.
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“I know that pride will account for nothing if we don’t deliver. I want to shape a team that wins. I was the little boy who fell in love with rugby watching the England team play.
“I want to shape a team that this nation gets behind and inspires our supporters and inspires lots of young boys and girls to fall in rugby as I did all those years ago.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’re going to start that work today.”
Borthwick spoke of getting England fans onside.
Former coach Jones was criticized for losing the respect of the supporters, which reached its climax in a drawn match with New Zealand at the iconic London ground.
“I made my debut here in 2001, my first game for England, and the stadium has changed a bit since that point in time, but from that day the thing that will always stick in my mind – as you turn left out of the changing rooms, you go down the tunnel, and as you’re coming down that tunnel and it starts to open up, as you step just outside the noise hits you in this stadium. heard that roar,” he added.
“Now, it’s not very long before we play Scotland here, and when this team walks out that tunnel, I want to hear that roar louder than ever.
“Our job as a team – my job as the coach to help prepare the team – is we give our supporters plenty to roar about. We have this ground as noisy as it’s ever been by the way we play, by the way we compete, by the way we fight on the pitch. I want a team this nation will be proud of.”
In announcing Borthwick, the RFU also confirmed Kevin Sinfield as his new defense coach.
Borthwick played 57 matches for England and captained the Red Roses on 21 occasions.
His signing comes off the back of winning the 2021/22 Premiership Rugby crown with Leister Tigers, making him the top pick to replace Jones.
Somewhat ironically, it was Borthwick who worked alongside Jones for Japan (2012-2015) and England (2015-2020) as the forwards coach.
At the announcement, Borthwick said England ranked outside the top three for fundamentals during the Spring Tour.
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The new head coach said he’ll be taking a leaf out of Clive Woodward’s book, England’s most successful coach.
“The thing that always sticks in my head was in every single meeting, he had these posters on the wall – I was 20, 21 – and on that first poster, the poster he always referred to in every meeting was ‘brilliant basics’, “Borthwick recounted.
“He said ‘You’ve got to be brilliant with basics’. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but first and foremost we’ve got to be brilliant with basics come that first game in 47 days time.”
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