Eddie Jones has announced his new-look coaching team ahead of the Six Nations, but it is a returning face that is raising some questions.
The Australian has opted to retain John Mitchell as defence coach after their impressive World Cup, while England sevens coach Simon Amor replaces Scott Wisemantel as attack coach after he joined the Wallabies.
Elsewhere, Steve Borthwick has moved from his role as forwards coach to become a skills coach, making way for Matt Proudfoot.
The former Scotland international is fresh from guiding the Springboks to World Cup glory as forwards coach, orchestrating the demolition of England’s pack in the final.
This is a major coup and Jones will be hoping that he will be able to help England’s pack become as dominant as South Africa’s.
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It is Borthwick’s new position, though, that is raising some questions as there had been months of speculation following the RWC regarding his future.
Many expected the former England captain to team up with the struggling Leicester Tigers as forwards coach in the hope of turning their season around.
Why not just announce that Borthwick will be departing after the 6 Nations finishes ?????
— Adam Copperwheat (@A_Cops2) January 13, 2020
Isnt it best if Borthwick just leaves now? I'm biased as a Tigers fan but surely he's just getting in the way if he stick around.
— Andy Smith (@busypedro22) January 13, 2020
So the RFU aren't using him as a forwards coach, but equally not letting him go. pic.twitter.com/ouTMMlqHyV
— Richard Burnett (@RBurnett348) January 13, 2020
While it is still expected he will join the Tigers after the Six Nations, some people are wondering why he does not move now as he is no longer England’s forwards coach.
However, after such a long time under Jones, having worked alongside him with Japan, keeping Borthwick in the coaching team may allow a smoother transition under Proudfoot.
Nonetheless, it still seems to be a perplexing position for someone that is in demand elsewhere.
Steve Borthwick to skills coach?
— Agenda Bender (@HughMunculus) January 13, 2020
Eddie – can we have Steve Borthwick up at Oval Park now on a part-time basis, please?
— Simon (@AncientKeeper) January 13, 2020
Proudfoot has spoken very highly of the England team since joining and he is inheriting a formidable pack as well.
While the Springboks were able to maul Jones’ men in the RWC final, few teams in world rugby can match the power and dynamism of the group Proudfoot is now training.
It’s under three weeks until the Six Nations starts, with England travelling to the Stade de France on February 2 to take on a new French coaching team that are at the beginning of a new era under Fabien Gathie.
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