Steve Borthwick vows to bring back ‘Joy’ as Matt Proudfoot and Brett Hodgson take on Axe

Hodgson, who succeeded Anthony Siebold as England’s defense coach, will leave without directly overseeing a Test match. He did spend the fall series shadowing the outgoing Siebold, but Sinfield arrived from Leicester Tigers as a key member of Borthwick’s side.

Proudfoot joined the England national team from South Africa in 2020, having orchestrated the Springboks scrum team during their victorious World Cup campaign. However, it is understood that set-piece weaknesses were criticized in the review that led to the sacking of Eddie Jones earlier this month.

Both Hodgson and Broadfoot attended Champions Trophy matches this weekend, ironically the former being in Leicester Tigers’ win over Claremont before watching Northampton Saints head to Munster. Proudfoot was present for Harlequins’ narrow win over Racing 92 on Sunday.

Sources have indicated that Richard Cockerell will remain under Borthwick, who on Monday confirmed his desire to boost England’s profile and made clear his first few days in charge would be spent thinking about coaching and management squads. It was not clear what happened to offensive coach Martin Gleeson.

“That’s the number one priority in the next few days, to make sure everything is in place so that this team can be as prepared as possible,” Borthwick said. Then, in the next period, I will communicate with the players.

We have two one day camps, on the 2nd and 3rd of January. This has already been put in place. This will be an opportunity for me to meet all the players face to face.”

“I want us to have a coaching team that grows in us; you can prepare that team as well as we can,” Borthwick added. “We want to produce the best England team we can. The players deserve that and the supporters deserve that. My job is to put together a coaching team that can make that happen.”

Borthwick said Bill Sweeney, chief executive of the Rugby Football Union, has been “unequivocal” in his support so far. Asked specifically about Hodgson, whose arrival was only announced in November, Sweeney himself would not comment on any coach’s individual situations.

“I think it’s too early to say yet,” Sweeney said. “Steve has to come in now and he’ll have talks. It’s probably going to be high on his agenda to talk to all the current coaches and he’ll have a perspective in terms of his coaching format. So I don’t think it’s appropriate at this point to speculate. We’d like to treat everyone the same way.” So we’ll let Steve put his feet under the table and have those conversations with the coaches.”

Sweeney defended the personnel change under Jones and added that Borthwick, who had been replaced as Leicester Tigers coach on an interim basis by Richard Wigglesworth, would be given freedom to assemble his squad.

“Sure, and you guys would expect that,” Sweeney said. It was clearly identified as number one [candidate] – And Lester knew it. You can’t bring someone up and say “It’s true you can’t do this and you can’t do that.” And within certain reasonable limits, we support him in what he wants to do.

Meanwhile, Sweeney admitted he would be “surprised” if Jones wasn’t coaching a rival nation in the 2023 World Cup. Rugby Australia boss Hamish McLennan has already expressed interest in luring Jones to the Wallabies.

“I would be surprised if he wasn’t there,” Sweeney said of Jones’ involvement in France the next year. “Who knows? Hamish MacLennan said they’re going to arm Eddie or something. Does he go there as a consultant, does he go to the States, to Japan, I don’t know.”

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