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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Nick Purewal

Steve Borthwick appointed England head coach as Kevin Sinfield follows from Leicester Tigers

New appointments: Steve Borthwick and Kevin Sinfield have left Leicester for England

(Picture: Getty Images)

Steve Borthwick officially took charge of England on Monday afternoon, with Kevin Sinfield installed as his right-hand man.

Former Test captain Borthwick was confirmed as Eddie Jones’ successor on a five-year contract as England head coach, with Sinfield taking the role of defence coach.

The 43-year-old ex-Saracens and England lock will now launch into an immediate World Cup mission, with just nine Test matches to go before next year’s global contest in France.

The RFU had to agree a sizeable compensation package with Leicester to secure the release of both Tigers’ top coaches, Borthwick and Sinfield.

“I’m deeply honoured to be appointed England head coach, and I am very excited by the challenge,” said Borthwick.

“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 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.”

Chief executive Bill Sweeney has thrown the RFU’s full backing behind Borthwick and Sinfield as a double act to revitalise the struggling national team.

The RFU sacked Jones on December 6 after England’s worst set of calendar-year results since 2008, in a 2022 comprising just five wins in 12 Tests.

“We are delighted to be welcoming Steve back to the RFU,” said Sweeney. “He has been part of the England team for more than 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.”

Borthwick worked under Jones with England between 2015 and 2020, before moving on to drive Leicester to last season’s Gallagher Premiership title.

Rugby League great Sinfield joined Leicester in 2021 for his first coaching role in union, quickly making a major mark at Welford Road.

“It is a special moment to join England as a coach, I know what representing your country means and to get the chance to do it as a coach is a real honour,” said Sinfield.

“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 their 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.”

Leicester’s squad have been impressed by Borthwick and Sinfield’s progressive approach, in putting players at the centre of their coaching style.

Leicester’s England players will tell their Test colleagues that Borthwick will set high expectations but will not ask anyone to do anything he would not demand of himself.

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