England: Steve Borthwick would be a ‘great appointment’ for the Red Rose

Colin Newboult

Former England international Ugo Monye has backed Steve Borthwick to succeed as the Red Rose head coach should the current Leicester Tigers boss take charge ahead of the Six Nations.

Eddie Jones was sacked on Tuesday after seven years in the role, leaving the national team without a head honcho just nine months out from the Rugby World Cup.

Borthwick is the favourite to replace Jones – a man who served under the Australian at both Japan and England – although the RFU will have to agree a compensation package with Leicester.

Finding England’s identity

“If he is the man, I think it is a great appointment,” Monye told BBC Rugby Union Weekly.

“We don’t have nine months to experiment, we have nine months to nail our identity.”

The 43-year-old took the Tigers from the lower reaches of the Premiership to the title just two years after joining the club.

He spent the first season getting the fundamentals sorted before expanding their game and creating a more rounded outfit.

“He gets it,” Monye added.

“He understands the personality of the game at the domestic level, what the players want, what the fans want, it feels like a necessity to connect all that together.

“I have had spoken with players at Leicester and the number-one word they always use is ‘detail’.

“Everyone knows exactly what they are doing and how they have to do it in every situation. The detail is inside out, they love it. Clarity and detail need to be implemented into that (England) team over the next few months.”

England’s style of play had been criticised under Jones, with the current side struggling in a number of facets.

When he took the job in 2016, the 62-year-old was insistent on getting the Red Rose back to what English rugby was renowned for, which meant set-piece dominance, physicality, a watertight defence and an excellent kicking game.

The former head coach then looked to add more detail to their game and sometimes went for a dual playmaker approach.

George Ford and Owen Farrell often played together before Marcus Smith emerged and was partnered with Farrell for the latter stages of Jones’ tenure.

Struggles up front

It has shown promise on occasion but it has not truly fired, albeit they have not been helped by a porous defence and a struggling forward pack.

Monye believes that Borthwick will seek to sort out England’s problems up front, but is also fascinated to see what he does with the attack.

“Leicester’s game is very much based on territory, kicking, power and set piece. That might be what he goes with,” Monye said.

“He will have a different player pool to select from for England, but is that how England are going to play? Are fans going to be happy with seeing that?

“Who is the attack coach? That is what I am fascinated about.

“The scrum is one of the weakest in the game, the defence is shipping tries, we need to get those fundamental pillars back in England’s game. But where they can really steal a march and close the gap on the likes of Ireland and France, New Zealand and South Africa is in their attack.”

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