‘I ask the supporters to be behind this team’: Steve Borthwick sends rallying cry to England fans as the team prepare for a new era when they kick-off their Six Nations campaign against Scotland
- Steve Borthwick wants the England crowd to get behind his side on Saturday
- England open their Six Nations Championship against Scotland at Twickenham
- The team were booed off the pitch in November under former boss Eddie Jones
Steve Borthwick has urged the Twickenham crowd to get behind a new era of English rugby after the team were booed off the pitch in November.
Following the sacking of Eddie Jones, Borthwick has been fast-tracked in as head coach and will take charge of his first Test tomorrow against Scotland.
He has urged his players to harness the pain of 2022, when they had a dismal return of five wins in 12, and give English rugby fans something to smile about.
‘I ask the supporters to be behind this team,’ said Borthwick. ‘This is the first step, in this next chapter, of the England team. And I think this is a group of players that care so much about the England rugby team. I know I do so I ask them to get behind this team and lift this team, as they always do.
‘I was 15 years old the first time I played at Twickenham. England versus Wales, Under 16s. My first thought was, “What an incredible stadium” and there was probably about 50 people there. I still have a memory of my first cap, walking down that tunnel and out.
Steve Borthwick has urged fans to get behind his England team for the new era under his reign
Borthwick will oversee England’s Six Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham
‘Now the ground’s bigger, it’s more vibrant than it was even then. It’s changed. The stands are not what they used to be. But it still holds all those memories; of all those famous England games. This is the next step in that famous history and the players want to do so well.’
A core of the team have survived from Jones’s final defeat by the Springboks, with Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith maintaining their 10-12 combination amidst a midfield injury crisis.
But there is a new injection of talent, with the the likes of Ollie Hassell-Collins, Ben Curry and Ollie Chessum all drafted into the starting XV.
‘I think these players have trained really well and I sense an excitement in them,’ said Borthwick.
‘I sense that determination in them. I sense that from that pain of seeing the players walking off the pitch with their heads down from not that long ago. I sense now players that are energised to get back out there.’
‘I know there’s a lot of England supporters who will be disappointed. I can’t rewrite history, neither can the players. All we can do is influence what is going to happen in the future. Every game matters. Our players are determined to play with the fight and the commitment that our fans expect and deserve.’
Forwards coach Richard Cockerill, who lives in Edinburgh is the only survivor from Jones’s coaching team.
He admitted that England’s scrum must show drastic improvements, as the hosts look to improve their poor recent record against Scotland.
Owen Farrell will continue to captain England under Borthwick ahead of the Six Nations
‘Our scrum hasn’t been good enough and that’s something we need to improve, both in terms of the relationships with the referee and how we actually go about our business,’ said Cockerill.
‘We have a plan for the game and we have to see if that’s the right plan. We have enough quality on the field to deal with what’s in front of us. We want to play with passion and pride and effort and show what it means to play for England. Nothing different to what you will have heard from Steve from day one.
‘We’re here to win, first and foremost. It’s the most important thing and what we get judged on.’
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