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The major Six Nations concern for Wales and England ahead of World Cup 2023

Wales and England might regret stepping onto the coaching merry-go-round.

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Jones reject Ollie Lawrence explains why he fits Borthwick's England

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Ollie Lawrence has explained why he feels a very different player with England under Steve Borthwick than under Eddie Jones, the previous head coach. The 23-year-old encountered teething trouble when first introduced to international level in the 2020/21 season, suggesting that Jones had taken a dislike to him when he first went into camp and he wasn’t able to shake off that negative first impression until it was too late.


Having been out of the reckoning for the last year and a half of the Jones reign, Lawrence has now returned to the England fold under new head coach Borthwick and has more than found his feet on this occasion.

A used replacement in the opening-round loss to Scotland, Lawrence was given a start at outside centre versus Italy in round two and went on to flourish in last Saturday’s round three match away to Wales, scoring the win-sealing try with five minutes remaining at the Principality Stadium.

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Mike Brown and Ollie Lawrence | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 66
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Mike Brown and Ollie Lawrence | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 66

Lawrence has now taken time to reflect on his successful international return, explaining why playing for England feels so much better under Borthwick than it did under Jones. Appearing on the latest episode of RugbyPass Offload, the centre said: “There are people that love Eddie and there are people that have the opposite opinion. I don’t think he is a bad bloke at all.

“I must have given an impression of myself when I first went into camp that probably didn’t suit the way he wants his players to be and that was something I couldn’t change because I wasn’t in the squad long enough for him to see a different side to me.


“Towards the end of the summer of ’21, he saw a change in me and what he was seeing before that he didn’t like clearly wasn’t there anymore, but then I got injured and wasn’t really in the mix. To have Steve in camp has been a breath of fresh air for the whole team. He is very honest and gives you his opinion and will push you to work harder and to fight for the team and that is the main thing.


“There is a lot of respect for both Eddie and for Steve but for me, so far my relationship with Steve has been really good and he had got the best out of me and hopefully there is more to come with that.”

Asked to elaborate on the key differences between England under Borthwick compared to what previously existed under Jones, Lawrence continued: “There are a lot of differences between the two coaches and different styles but the main thing for me is the environment.

“I’m not going to speak on behalf of other people, but personally I felt like I could be myself more in this England setup than Eddie’s team. I wouldn’t say I felt restricted but I would say I was more on edge when Eddie was there. I don’t know why that is. Maybe just the way he is as a coach and how he decides to coach and how he likes his environment to be is different to Steve.

“But I have got nothing but huge respect for Steve for how he has managed to come in and get this team so tight already and I have managed to feel like I can free myself up and play to my best because I don’t have the weight on my shoulders feeling stressed at all.


“I’m just focusing on getting better and training hard which will hopefully get you in selection…. In terms of the training and stuff, I definitely feel a lot more comfortable in camp and I am really enjoying being around this squad and building as a team.”

Jones is now head coach of the Wallabies, who could potentially face England in a World Cup quarter-final next October in Marseille if the pool results go a certain way. What does Lawrence make of that possible showdown with his old England boss?

“We could potentially face them but I’d just be happy with the win. But it would be a silver lining in the background to have got one over. The main thing for this team, I don’t think we have any personal agendas with any players or teams.

“We just want to win as a team no matter the coach or the players against us. But everyone I am sure will have their own individual reasons for wanting to win that game especially.”


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