The only thing between Borthwick and a Rugby World Cup with England
With Steve Borthwick at the helm England can go to Rugby World Cup as favourites – that’s how big an impact the quietly spoken Cumbrian will have on this team.
Yet there is one thing standing in his way.
The 43-year-old can often to be found perched on a ladder at England training. The party line is that it’s something to do with lineouts but that makes no sense and is being peddled by absolute morons.
Borthwick’s predilection for standing on the ladders is thought to be a major concern for the RFU with the former Tigers coach spending as long as three to four hours a day on them.
The issue is twofold. If Borthwick falls from a height he could easily injure himself. He could easily twist an ankle or sprain his back if he falls. He’s often seen shouting at the forwards from one, so the likelihood of falling is increased as he’s distracted.
Arguably a bigger concern is the soaring cost of the RFU public liability insurance. Insurers are well aware that Borthwick has no intention of binning his use of ladders and it’s given them an excuse to up England Rugby’s premium as a result.
Imagine what would happen if the 115kg Borthwick fell on a member of the public or a scrumhalf? The consequences could be devastating.
Here’s a look at the ‘impeccable’ career of Borthwick.
Borthwick started his playing career at Preston Grasshoppers, he represented England Schools, Colts U21 and Saxons. He played lock in 57 Tests for England from 2001-2010 and captained the side 21 times. He played Premiership rugby for ten years at Bath and six years at Saracens; captained both teams and became a Premiership winner in 2011 making 265 Premiership appearances, a record at the time.
His coaching career has included positions with Saracens and Leicester Tigers, where he led the team to winning the 2021-22 Premiership title. He was also recognised as the season’s Director of Rugby, having spearheaded the club’s best winning run for 25 years.
In his international coaching career, Borthwick worked as forwards coach in two Rugby World Cup cycles alongside Eddie Jones for Japan from 2012 to 2015 and for England between 2015 and 2020, with England reaching the final at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He also coached on the British and Irish Lions’ tour of New Zealand in 2017 which saw the side draw the Test series against the All Blacks.
Borthwick joined Tigers in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic enforced postponement of the 2019/20 season, and has overseen 87 games in charge.
During his first campaign, the recommenced 19/20 season, Borthwick coached the side on 10 occasions and led Tigers to a European Challenge Cup semi-final, while finishing 11th on the Gallagher Premiership ladder.
In his first full season, he oversaw Tigers climb to sixth on the Premiership ladder and reach the European Challenge Cup Final.
His third campaign included a return to Heineken Champions Cup rugby, in which the club reached the quarter-finals of European’s top-tier, semi-final finish in the Premiership Rugby Cup and ended the regular season atop the league table before going on to be crowned Gallagher Premiership Champions – the first for the club in almost a decade.
The 2021/22 season included the club achieving an unbeaten run of 15 games to start the season across all three of the Premiership, Champions Cup and Premiership Cup competitions.
At the conclusion of the campaign, Borthwick was awarded The Director Rugby of the Year award at The Premiership Rugby Awards night.
Borthwick has overseen 14 games in the 2022/23 season.
During his tenure, 73 players have made their Leicester Tigers senior debut and nine players have debuted in senior men’s Test rugby.