England rugby head coach Steve Borthwick has insisted his authentic coaching strategy can help his players get the best out of themselves in next month’s Guinness Six Nations.
The England boss spoke alongside his currently banned captain Owen Farrell ahead of the Championships, where Borthwick’s men will host Scotland in their opening fixture on 4 February.
“I’m going to be authentic to me,” he replied, when asked if he’d be a different coach to his predecessor Eddie Jones. “I care deeply about my players and I want them to go onto this pitch playing for England and be the best.
“I was privileged to play 57 times for England and I had the great honour of captaining the country on 21 occasions.
“Now I look back at a lot of that time and I regret a lot of the things I didn’t do.
“Did I give the very, very best account of myself? Would I like to rewind the clock and go back and try and do it again? I would.
“One of the things I love about coaching is that I want to try and help these young guys not make the mistakes I made.”
The remarks struck a different tone to predecessor Jones – now Australia head coach – who was an infamous dropper of verbal napalm strikes in press conferences.
England appointed Borthwick last month after sacking Jones at the end of a year in which the national side won just five of their 12 Test matches.
This year Borthwick has the upcoming Six Nations to turn a sorry looking England around before the national side play four warm-up matches this summer. Thereafter England are into a World Cup and will feature in a pool with the likes of Argentina and Japan.
The 43-year-old coach was dealt a tough blow yesterday morning, however, with news that vice-captain Courtney Lawes and hooker George McGuigan will be missing from the training camp – which started last night – with knee and ankle injuries respectively.
Lawes has been replaced by his Northampton teammate David Ribbans while Bath’s Tom Dunn has come in for Gloucester front row McGuigan.
But the side could be handed a further complication in the coming days with senior hooker Jamie George needing to go through concussion protocols after sustaining a head knock on
Sunday for his club Saracens. Depending on the severity of the head injury, he could be absent for weeks.
The England set-up are sure, however, that the number of senior players in the squad can carry the national side through the obstacles.
“I think that we are looking forward to it, when we get together [with] that leadership team and the people that are around it because we’ve got a huge amount of experience within the team,” captain Farrell said.
“We’ve obviously got Ellis [Genge, prop] and Courtney, who were the vice-captains who are fantastic leaders but we’ve also got a good few lads that know how to win games as well and have got a lot of experience under their belt and a lot of years in terms of knowing how to win.
“I’m looking forward to getting together with the group and growing and making sure we’re all in and focused on what’s in front of us, which is Scotland.”
England have won just one of the last five Calcutta Cups – a 13-6 victory in 2020 – having won the previous nine before 2018.
And the national side come into the Championship off an Autumn Nations Series – under Jones – which saw them lose to South Africa and Argentina.