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Proudfoot exits England Rugby as Borthwick brings back veteran prop - reports

By Ian Cameron
Matt Proudfoot - PA

England forwards coach Matt Proudfoot is set to leave his RFU role to take up a new gig in South African rugby.

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Proudfoot, who has been in his current role for just under three years, will not be retained by Steve Borthwick’s new England regime. Proudfoot coached the Springboks’ forward pack that demolished England’s scrum in the final of the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

According to Afrikaans media outlet Rapport, the 50-year-old will be unveiled as the new head coach of South African university heavyweights Maties in the Varsity Cup.

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Proudfoot and Borthwick would have worked together for a year under Eddie Jones before Borthwick upped sticks in 2020 to take over as head coach of Leicester Tigers. More recently the South African was coaching alongside former England hooker Richard Cockerill.

Proudfoot, South African born and a former Scottish international, became forwards coach having been involved in the Springboks team since 2016. The former prop was part of Rassie Erasmus’ backroom staff during the victorious Rugby World Cup run.

He previously coached at Western Province and Stormers in South Africa and Kobelco Steelers in Japan. Proudfoot, capped four times for Scotland between 1998 and 2003, played for Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors and the Leopards and Blue Bulls in South Africa.

According to The Telegraph, Borthwick’s first mission as England coach is to improve the scrums ahead of the Guinness Six Nations. The former Leicester Tigers coach is to bring in 35-year-old veteran Dan Cole as part of a bid to bolster their setpiece. Cole hasn’t played for England since the aforementioned Rugby World Cup final, where the English pack was dismantled by the then Proudfoot-coached Boks.

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“There’s a lot of potential in the players we have and I want to produce a team that delivers, so I’m going to devote myself wholeheartedly to try to help this team deliver and be a team that we can all be proud of,” Borthwick said recently. “Ultimately on that first game of the Six Nations are we going to be perfect? No. Is it going to be exactly how the team is going to play? No. It is going to be the start but what is absolutely clear is the team needs to go out there and it needs to fight.”

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