Borthwick to coach England forwards?

Date published: November 23 2015

While former captain Steve Borthwick has been linked with a role in the England staff, Bristol insist their forwards coach is "under contract."

36-year-old Borthwick's name was immediately thrown into the hat when Eddie Jones was named England head coach on Friday, as a result of the duo's highly successful collaboration with Japan.

In fact, the pair's relationship stretches well back. 

The former lock, who won 57 caps for England, also captained Saracens during Jones' time at the Premiership club before acting as an assistant coach to the Australian in the Japanese setup, helping mastermind the Brave Blossoms' shock defeat of the Springboks at the World Cup.

Jones has not made any public statements regarding his backroom staff, but before being appointed to the England job the ex-Wallaby boss sang Bortwick's praises, saying "he’s not ready to be a head coach but he’s a guy who should be in the [England] mix, straight away."

Having retired as a player only 18 months ago, it is believed that Borthwick is wary of taking on a role that would see him working with players that he competed against or with, but he is highly-regarded as a rugby brain and analyst.

Bristol formally unveiled Borthwick as their forwards coach earlier this month meaning, like Jones at the Stormers, there would be contractual hurdles to leap if he is to join the England coaching team. 

The RFU Championship club appear ready to put up a fight too, with Director of Rugby Andy Robinson telling the Bristol Post: "Steve is not going to be released. He is under contract."

However, previous Bristol forwards Danny Wilson was released from his three-year contract when Cardiff Blues came knocking during the offseason, suggesting Borthwick's availability may be dependent on how much the RFU are willing to pay. 

It has been suggested that a Borthwick may work with England on a part-time basis while gaining experience at Bristol, before taking a full-time role at Twickenham.