Eddie Jones is backing his former No2 Steve Borthwick to follow him into the England head coach role after working alongside the former Bath and Saracens lock for more than six years. Borthwick spent two years helping Jones coach Japan and over four years as England forwards coach, taking the team to last year’s Rugby World Cup final in Japan. Borthwick, the former England captain, is now tasked with reviving the flagging fortunes of Leicester in his first role as the lead man in a coaching set up.
Jones believes the Leicester job will help give Borthwick the experience to one day become England head coach and made his prediction to RFU performance director Conor O’Shea in an episode of “The Eddie Jones Podcast” that will be released tomorrow.
Jones said: “Steve did two years in Japan and four and half years with England did an absolutely superb job for us. It is time now to take his own job. He will go through his own apprenticeship as head coach and he will learn a lot and keep progressing. One day there is no doubt he will good enough to coach England.”
Jones also paid tribute to advice from Wayne Bennett, the legendary Australian rugby league coach who also took charge of England, who talked about when the time was right to bring in young players and leave out older established team members. He added: “In the second year I was coaching I went to see Wayne Bennett and one of the things he said is when you have a good young player coming through and an older guy who has one or two years left, let the older guy down and bring the younger guy through one year too early because you will get eight or nine years from the younger guy. The older guy will go off and play somewhere else.
“It is so true. Knowing when the time is right to bring a younger guy in and regenerate your whole operation. The same with coaching and Sir Alex Ferguson (ex-Manchester United) had the knack of rotating his assistants. He kept things fresh and energetic for the players and at the same time he is the hand of stability at the top.”
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