Steve Borthwick has been confirmed as England's new head coach succeeding Eddie Jones. The new boss has vowed to “give it everything” after leaving Leicester Tigers to pen a five-year deal with his country.
The 43-year old Cumbrian is joined by rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield, who also leaves Leicester Tigers with immediate effect. Rugby Football Union boss Bill Sweeney had long targeted Borthwick as the man to lead the national team but had to bid four times his original offer for the Premiership champions to accept. Richard Wigglesworth takes charge of Tigers as interim head coach.
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.”
RFU boss Sweeney said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Steve back to the RFU. He has been part of the England team for over 15 years and he is our first-choice successor to Eddie. Steve and Kevin’s insight and first-hand knowledge of the players will be a great asset and everyone at the RFU is right behind them with our full support.”
Sinfield heads to Twickenham as defence coach having forged a formidable reputation both in rugby league and as an ironman, in every sense, on the fundraising circuit in raising money for MND research in support of his friend Rob Burrow.
“It is a special moment to join England as a coach,” he said. “I know what representing your country means and to get the chance to do it as a coach is a real honour.
“There is so much player talent in England and I am really looking forward to working with the wider squad of players to see what we can achieve together, especially with such a massive year ahead of us.
“I’d like to thank everyone at Leicester Tigers, the players, staff and supporters, for welcoming me to the club. I’ve loved my time there and wish them all the best for the rest of the season.
“I’m looking forward to getting started and there’s no better opening campaign than the Guinness Six Nations.”
The wider coaching team to support Borthwick will be announced in the coming weeks.
Borthwick, who captained England in 21 of his 57 Tests, leaves Tigers with a glowing coaching reputation following his work at the club. He arrived at Leicester in 2020 with the club bottom of the Premiership table before masterminding a startling transformation, which culminated in the team winning the Premiership title in June this year.
He is also no stranger to the international setup either, something that has only added to his label as the heir apparent once Jones departed the England job he had held for seven years. The 43-year-old worked alongside the Australian as a forwards coach for Japan and England before quitting to take charge at Leicester.
“Every day getting up and trying to find a way to improve, find a way to win - that’s the everlasting impression Eddie left on me,” said the Cumbrian after he originally left for the Tigers. “Now it’s about developing my own way of working.”
Now it's Borthwick who will have to develop his own way of working with an England team that has had a tumultuous time of late. Despite Jones technically being the most successful coach England had ever had, winning 73 per cent of his matches in charge, recent form has been a worry.
The Autumn internationals defeat to Argentina received particular criticism, while England also lost to South Africa and drew with New Zealand, though they needed a remarkable late comeback in order to achieve that result.
While there is no shortage of star talent within the England playing ranks, the transformation will have to come quickly with the World Cup in mind. England have nine Tests between now and then, starting on February 4 at Twickenham against Scotland, whom Jones failed to beat in four of the last five meetings.
But with the Borthwick era now underway many England fans will be excited at what the future may hold.