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'One of the best coaches ever' - Steve Borthwick endorses former boss Eddie Jones

By Paul Smith
Eddie Jones and Steve Borthwick confer ahead of England's game with Australia in Oita. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images,)

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Since the Times ran a story with multiple anonymous former backroom staff and coaches piling criticism on Eddie Jones’ methods and people skills, it’s fair to say that England’s head coach has needed broad shoulders and a rhinoceros hide.

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Owen Slot’s piece even led the way on BT Sport’s Sunday evening Autumn International Series live preview when the former Japan and Australia boss batted off three Craig Doyle questions before declining to answer a fourth, more pointed enquiry regarding his alleged “bullying” ways and England’s resultingly high turnover of support staff.

Leicester boss Steve Borthwick, who knows Jones better than most, is described by Slot as a “punchbag” who absorbed plenty of punishment during their time together in Japan then between 2015 and 2020 when the former England skipper was his country’s Forwards Coach.

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Steven Kitshoff
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But speaking at today’s Leicester press conference Borthwick had nothing but praise for his former boss who he described as “one of the best coaches ever.”

“I will be forever grateful to Eddie Jones for the opportunity he’s given me and for the education in coaching and ongoing support,” the former Bath and Saracens lock said.

“Whenever I have a question or have something I can’t find a solution to I know Eddie is one of the people I can always turn to and bounce ideas off.

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“To put that in context, (Sale’s) Alex Sanderson worked under him, so did (former Harlequins’ head coach) Paul Gustard and (Northampton’s) Sam Vesty. Eddie also oversaw a Barbarians weekend that Phil Dowson (Northampton) worked on and I think (Newcastle’s) Dave Walder had some time with him.

“Not only does Eddie have the highest win rate of any England coach but I don’t see anyone else who’s had such an impact on English coaching.

“Hopefully that will be good for English rugby for a long time to come but that’s going to be dependent on how we as younger coaches all continue to develop.”

To underline his high regard for Jones, Borthwick went on to stress how much Leicester’s young players – among whom Freddie Steward, Nic Dolly and George Martin are all current England hopefuls – have benefitted from time with him.
“The players that went to international camp in the summer have all come back better players,” he said.

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“When you are coached by someone of Eddie Jones’ quality you will improve. That opportunity to be coached by one of the best coaches ever is tremendous for them and (the knock-on effect) can only benefit Leicester Tigers.”

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