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500 school children watch as England stage first training in France

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Steve Borthwick’s England got down to business at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France when they held their first pitch session in Le Touquet in front of an attendance of 500 schoolchildren on Friday afternoon.


Borthwick’s squad flew into the Hauts-de-France region on Thursday following a nightmare Summer Nations Series pockmarked by suspensions, injuries, defeats and a loss of public confidence in their rookie Test-level head coach who has been at the helm since last December.

After a seven-night stay in Le Touquet, England will fly south to Marseille next Thursday ahead of their September 9 World Cup opener against Argentina.

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They have travelled across the Channel having won just once in their six most recent matches and that run of miserable form resulted in Borthwick quickly working his pack at training.

Most of the vision access section at the start of their training session at Stade d’Athletisme Ferdi Petit was dedicated to the head coach perfecting his team’s maul on a soft pitch that had to cope with much recent rain.

It was current Wallabies boss Eddie Jones, Borthwick’s predecessor, who last year nominated Le Touquet-Paris-Plage as the best place for England to prepare for their upcoming Pool D matches.

A welcome ceremony to the tournament will be staged for them on Saturday by local town officials, and Borthwick will then host his arrival media briefing on Monday.


That will be three days before he is due to name his match day 23 to face the Pumas at the start of a pool campaign that also has games versus Japan (in Nice), Chile and Samoa (both in Lille).


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