England rugby coach Steve Borthwick says the team lacked “clarity” towards the end of predecessor Eddie Jones’s tenure but has vowed to revive them at the Six Nations.
Speaking after his first squad announcement since taking the England job in December, Borthwick drew a line under a dire autumn campaign and said the next 18 days until the team’s opening Six Nations match against Scotland would be crucial.
“The reality is, in those games in the autumn series, when the pressure came on and things went wrong, or got challenged, the England team did not have the clarity to move forward and that’s a point the players have said to me many times,” Borthwick said.
Borthwick on clarity
“So what do we need at the start of the Six Nations? The players need clarity on how they’re going to play. They need to go out there, to have the courage to play to their strengths on the field, and fundamentally I want them to fight in every single contest.
“As an England supporter watching those autumn series games I was – and I dare say like everyone around this table – gutted.
“I want a team that fights – you know what I’m talking about, the manner in which we play and approach every contest.
“We will make tactical changes, we will improve tactically over a period of time, but fundamentally we need to go out on to that field against a Scotland team coming here with a lot of confidence and we need to fight.”
Borthwick’s first match in charge of England will be in the Calcutta Cup – the game’s oldest international fixture – on 4 February at Twickenham.
Thereafter the side will play four more Six Nations matches, four summer fixtures and then Argentina in the opening game of their World Cup campaign in September.