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Saracens have reacted to speculation linking coach Peel to England

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Gallagher Premiership leaders Saracens have given their reaction to speculation that long-serving assistant Ian Peel is in line to coach the England scrum during the upcoming Guinness Six Nations. New boss Steve Borthwick has been revamping his staff in recent weeks following his appointment as the successor to the dismissed Eddie Jones.

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Borthwick’s own anointment as head coach coincided with Kevin Sinfield, his assistant at Leicester, being named as the new England defence coach, a role that under Jones was set to go to Brett Hodgson, who had shadowed the departing Anthony Seibold during the Autumn Nations Series.

It was officially confirmed this week by the RFU that Hodgson would now not be part of the new Borthwick coaching ticket that also won’t feature scrum coach Matt Proudfoot or Danny Kerry, the former hockey coach who was appointed by Jones in October as the England team training coordinator.

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The exit of Proudfoot has created a vacancy if Borthwick decides he needs to bring in another specialist rather than have himself coach that aspect of the team or give the responsibility over to forwards coach Richard Cockerill.

This has resulted in Peel, the Saracens forwards/set-piece coach since 2015, being linked with the job of coaching the England scrum for the Six Nations which begins with the February 4 match at home to Scotland.

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This speculation was news to the London club, however. In an interview on BT Sport before the start of Friday night’s win at Gloucester, the director of rugby Mark McCall said: “Yeah, we have read the speculation. I am not surprised because he is a heck of a coach, he is a brilliant coach who is important to us. As far as I know, they haven’t contacted him. They have definitely not contacted us so at the moment speculation but we will wait and see.”

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Peel is contracted with Saracens through to the end of the 2024/25 season, but the RFU could potentially look to strike a short-term deal with the assistant similar to the arrangement confirmed with Nick Evans.

The Harlequins attack and backs coach is tied long-term to The Stoop but an arrangement was agreed with Borthwick that will enable Evans to coach the England attack for the Six Nations and return to help his club in the fallow weeks during the tournament.

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