Steve Borthwick has been slammed for pointing the finger at former head coach Eddie Jones after England’s shock loss to Scotland on Saturday night.
In the opening clash of this year’s Six Nations tournament, and Borthwick’s first game in charge, England slumped to a dismal 29-23 loss to their Scottish neighbours at home at Twickenham Stadium.
While Jones was axed in December for a poor international record of just five wins from 12 Test matches in 2022, former assistant Borthwick was quick to deny responsibility for the result, instead heaping blame back onto his predecessor.
England must endure pain in order to grow, says Steve Borthwick after Scotland loss 🏉 pic.twitter.com/KViBc3DUpz— Mirror Sport (@MirrorSport) February 6, 2023
“I've been frank from day one in saying there's a lot of work to do,” Borthwick said post-match.
“When I looked at the team in the autumn … we weren't good at anything. It was as frank as that.”
While Jones’ record would suggest England rugby has suffered a rough patch of late, New Zealand rugby writer Jamie Wall firmly believes Borthwick should have taken responsibility for the defeat.
“Some pretty bizarre comments from Borthwick after that game,” Wall told SENZ Mornings.
“I think people weren’t probably expecting him to turn this team around straight away (but) facing Scotland at home is a game that English fans kind of expect to win, so that still would have been disappointing.
“But to come out and sort of say, ‘Well this isn’t my fault,’ like mate, you’ve got the job now, you’ve got the players, I don’t know who else they’re really going to pick.
“I don’t follow English club rugby that particularly closely but I don’t really know of there being too many guys that are banging on the door that Steve Borthwick hasn’t taken any notice of.
“If there are, well that’s your fault for not picking them, mate.”
Wall says it’s not a case that the English players aren’t good enough, but rather the juggling of first five-eighths Owen Farell and Marcus Smith is hindering their backline play.
“There are enough good players in there, they’ve got a very solid front row or tight five as it were (and) some talented loose forwards,” Wall added.
“Their biggest issue (is) they’ve got Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell … they have two playmakers that they’re trying to shoehorn into the same team.
“I think that if Borthwick is going to make a big call it’s that he’s going to have to axe one of them and build his team around the other one.”
England will next face Italy on February 13 in Round 2 of the Six Nations.