Eddie Jones overhaul continues with England backroom shake-up
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | December 15, 2015
England rugby union head coach Eddie Jones has let Mike Catt, Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree all leave their posts on the Red Rose backroom staff and brought in former Red Rose captain Steve Borthwick, as his overhaul continues.
Tasmania-born Jones is the first foreign boss appointed by the RFU after Stuart Lancaster left by mutual consent following a pool stage exit of the Rugby World Cup as tournament hosts.
“New thoughts and new ideas”
Speculation over the futures of Catt, Farrell and Rowntree, who all served Jones’ predecessor as skills, backs and forwards coaches respectively, had been mounting since the ex-Australia and Saracens boss took the England job.
“I just feel that at this stage for England we need to have some new thoughts and new ideas come in,” Jones told the Red Rose’s official website. “That’s why I’ve decided to let those coaches go.
“Having met with all of the coaches to talk through the future direction, we felt it was the right time to make changes. They are all experienced guys and have contributed greatly to this England team over recent years and I know everyone at the Union is appreciative of their hard work and commitment.”
The Red Rose, who are Coral’s narrow 15/8 favourites to win the 2016 Six Nations, begin the Jones era with a Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 6th.
Borthwick joins Jones?
Ex-England skipper Borthwick, who assisted Jones in his previous position as Japan boss and played under him at Saracens, succeeds Rowntree as forwards coach. Despite Bristol’s refusal to accept his resignation, the lure of working with the Aussie again proved too strong for Borthwick.
“This is a really exciting opportunity to join the England setup and to link up with Eddie again,” Borthwick said upon his appointment. “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.”
Jones, meanwhile, expressed his delight at bringing Borthwick in. “I have known him for a long time through Saracens and Japan and he has done fantastic work as a coach,” the Red Rose boss said. “Steve has a huge amount of international experience as a player and a captain.
“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.”
Will Gustard follow suit?
Amid this backroom shakeup, Saracens defence and forwards coach Paul Gustard has reportedly been offered a role under Jones, who gave him his first backroom job at the Aviva Premiership outfit.
“Paul is considering the offer,” said Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall. “I’m sure there will be dealings between the Rugby Football Union and ourselves over the next 24-48 hours.”
What a year 2015 has been for rugby union, so why not visit Coral’s dedicated section to look back over it?