Steve Borthwick caught in club v country battle over England role

Steve Borthwick joined Bristol after helping Eddie Jones coach Japan at the World Cup.

Steve Borthwick has agreed to join Eddie Jones’ coaching staff with England as forwards coach – but Bristol insist no deal has been reached and the former second row has not left the club.

The club is furious with England for announcing that Borthwick had joined the set-up before reaching agreement with the Championship club over a compensation package.

Borthwick, who is contracted with Bristol until the end of next season, handed in his notice this week and the Rugby Football Union put out a statement that he had left the club “after a brief spell” and would be in charge of all aspects of England’s forward strategy.

Bristol, whose chairman Steve Lansdown is one of the richest men in the country, had not accepted Borthwick’s resignation because there was no agreement with the RFU over the compensation for releasing the former England captain from his contract and regarded him as still being their employee.

Bristol issued a statement on its website on Tuesday afternoon which ran: “Steve Borthwick has today indicated to the Club that he wishes to join the RFU coaching team. Bristol Rugby want to make it clear that we have not agreed that Steve Borthwick can leave our employment.

“Steve Borthwick is subject to a recently signed long term employment contract. Bristol Rugby did not give the RFU permission to speak with Steve Borthwick. Bristol Rugby will take all reasonable actions as necessary to protect the Club’s position and, therefore, will not be making any further statement at this stage.”

It is further embarrassment for the RFU after Jones’s arrival in the country was delayed for six days at the start of the months because of visa problems. He had to remain in Japan while they were sorted out.”

Jones and Borthwick worked together for three years at Japan who they took to this year’s World Cup, beating South Africa in the group stage, becoming the first team in the tournament’s history to win three group games and not qualify for the knockouts.

Borthwick also worked with Jones at Saracens, where the Australian signed him as a player from Bath.

The 36-year-old former England international and captain joined the Championship side Bristol following the conclusion of the tournament this year.

In the RFU statement announcing his appointment Borthwick had said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to join the England setup and to link up with Eddie again.

“This is a huge honour to be asked as these chances don’t come around often. We have an exciting group of players in England and I am really looking forward to the challenge and getting England beating the best teams in the world.”

Borthwick was expected to be joined in the new England regime by Paul Gustard, the Saracens defence coach, while the backs coaches Alex King of Northampton and Ali Hepher of Exeter have been linked with a role in the set-up.

The England head coach Eddie Jones said he was “delighted” with the appointment. “I have known him for a long time through Saracens and Japan and he has done fantastic work as a coach.

“Steve has a huge amount of international experience as a player and a captain and his coaching in Japan in recent years shows he can get the best out of the players at the highest level.

“He is a great addition and I look forward to working with him again as we look ahead to the start of the Six Nations next year.”

Borthwick had an impressive playing career as a lock for both club and country representing England on 57 occasions between 2001 and 2010.

He captained the side under Martin Johnson from 2008 and was a member of the England squad which reached the Rugby World Cup Final against South Africa in 2007.

His playing career spanned 16 years, which included captaining Bath and Saracens, before retiring at the end of the 2013-14 season with a record 265 Premiership appearances.

He began his transition into coaching while still playing for Saracens and became Japan forwards coach in 2012.
[Source:- The Gurdian]