Steve Borthwick appointed England's new Rugby Union head coach
Steve Borthwick has been appointed the new head coach of England's Rugby Union team following the sacking of Eddie Jones.
The former England captain joins the national side from Leicester Tigers, taking defence coach Kevin Sinfield with him.
He played lock in 57 Tests for England from 2001-2010 and captained the side 21 times. In the Premiership, he played for ten years at Bath, and six years at Saracens, captaining both sides. He made a total of 265 Premiership appearances, which was a record at the time, and won the competition in 2011.
His coaching career has included spells at Saracens and Leicester Tigers, where he guided them to winning the 2021-22 Premiership title, including the club’s best winning run for 25 years.
Internationally, Borthwick was a forwards coach in two Rugby World Cup cycles with Eddie Jones. Firstly for Japan from 2012 to 2015 and for England between 2015 and 2020, with England reaching the final at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He also coached on the British and Irish Lions’ tour of New Zealand in 2017 which saw the side draw the Test series against the All Blacks.
After signing a five-year contract with the national side, Borthwick said; "I'm deeply honoured to be appointed England head coach, and I am very excited by the challenge.""The English game is full of talent and I want to build a winning team which makes the most of our huge potential and inspires young people to fall in love with rugby union the way I did. I want the whole country to be proud of us and to enjoy watching us play.""The hard work starts now and planning for the Guinness Six Nations and Rugby World Cup begins today. I will give it everything.”
He also said it wasn't easy to leave Leicester, in particular, the group of players he had assembled at the club:
So, what will Steve Borthwick have to address?
England's performance in the 2022 Six Nations wasn't the best, with the England only winning two out of their five games.
In the recent Autumn Internationals, England came up with a memorable comeback against New Zealand, scoring three tries in the final 10 minutes to tie the match. But they were booed off by the Twickenham crowd after being comprehensively beaten by current World Champions South Africa.
There are nine months until the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and next year's Six Nations begins in February with a tough start in Scotland at Murrayfield.
Leicester Tigers have moved to replace Borthwick with Richard Wigglesworth who becomes the Interim Head Coach.
It means Wigglesworth's record-breaking playing career is now over, after featuring in 322 Premiership games and 33 Test matches for England - over a 20-year professional career.
For the Tigers, he made 43 appearances, scoring four tries, in two and a half seasons.
He said; "There is so much to be excited about for what is to come for this great group of players, coaches and staff at Leicester Tigers."
"The decision to retire from playing was not easy. I have given absolutely everything to my playing career and loved every minute of being a professional rugby player."
"My family have given everything too and I, quite literally, could not have achieved what I have without them."
"I would not have taken on the Head Coach role of Leicester Tigers if I did not believe there was a group of players and coaches who are committed to being successful and, with those at this club, that cannot be questioned."
"I am grateful to Steve and Kev for what they have taught me, how they have challenged me and the friendship I have with both. Myself and Leicester Tigers are better for having worked with them."
"While it’s a bittersweet day, there is no time to dwell on anything. There is a job to be done, this weekend at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, against Gloucester and all of my focus is now on preparing the team for our next game."
Meanwhile Tigers' Chief Executive, Andrea Pinchen thanks Steve Borthwick for his work at the club; "He is one of the most hard working and dedicated people I have had the pleasure of seeing up close and his commitment to helping rebuild and reshape Leicester Tigers was profound."
"I know it will be disappointing for many to have this news confirmed, however what we want to do now is celebrate what has been achieved with Steve and the achievements made with him."
"On behalf of everyone at Leicester Tigers, I wish Steve - as well as his wife and two boys - all the best in their next chapter, of which I am certain he will be successful in."
Kevin Sinfield also leaves the club as a household name across the country, having recently completed a gruelling marathon challenge to raise more than £1.5million for Motor Neurone Disease research.