Steve Borthwick is excited about England’s future ahead of the World Cup
England manager Steve Borthwick insists he is excited about his players’ World Cup potential as he begins a thorough investigation into an unconvincing Guinness Six Nations campaign.
The Red Rose finished the Championship for the third straight year with two wins and three losses after losing 16-29 to Grand Slam champions Ireland in Dublin.
England’s performance at the Aviva Stadium was greatly improved after fourth-round humiliation at Twickenham by France as they battled valiantly against the world’s best side, although full-back Freddie Steward was lost to a red card just before half-time.
But results and performances over the past seven weeks have given little hint that Borthwick’s side will be a force to be reckoned with at this autumn’s global tournament in France.
The former Leicester head coach, who replaced Eddie Jones in December, is looking forward to having more time to work with his squad and believes there are encouraging signs for the future.
“We will discuss these Six Nations in depth, we will take the lessons we learn from them and clearly set our direction for the future,” Borthwick said.
“I have already said that there is a gap (to the top nations). The team isn’t where it could be and while we’re judging against teams who have used that four-year cycle tremendously well, that hasn’t happened with England, it’s not the position England are in. I can’t do anything about the past.
“I intend that we will work really hard to put England in the best possible position and I’m excited to see what these players can do for the World Cup.”
England finished fourth in the competition – behind Ireland, France and Scotland.
The visitors led most of the first half of Saturday night’s game against the in-form Irish side thanks to the first two of Owen Farrell’s three penalty shoot-outs.
However, after hooker Dan Sheehan crossed over to put Ireland ahead, Steward was sacked for colliding with the head of rival full-back Hugo Keenan.
A week after losing 10-53 to the French, an exhausted England didn’t budge but were beaten after more attempts by Robbie Henshaw, Sheehan and Rob Herring with Jamie George.
“We have a few weeks to prepare (for the World Cup), the players will then be prepared for international rugby, the players will understand how we want to play,” Borthwick said.
“This was a fabulous tournament, five intense games and effectively you then have a main training session a week.
“I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to work with the players over a longer period of time and I think we can grow a bit.
“I think we’ve seen some growth here, but I think we’re going to see more in this preparatory phase.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/steve-borthwick-six-nations-england-guinness-twickenham-b2303794.html Steve Borthwick is excited about England’s future ahead of the World Cup