Leicester Tigers: Jasper Wiese ‘bitter’ over coaches departure to England

Colin Newboult

England head coach Steve Borthwick (left) speaks with defensive coach Kevin Sinfield during a training session at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey. Picture date: Tuesday February 7, 2023.

Leicester Tigers number eight Jasper Wiese admits to still being hugely disappointed over the loss of Steve Borthwick and Kevin Sinfield to the England set-up.

Borthwick was the Leicester head coach when the South African moved to the club, with both playing a significant part in their upturn in fortunes.

Wiese’s barnstorming performances from the back of the scrum were crucial in Leicester winning their first Premiership title since 2013.

With the Tigers duly impressing under Borthwick and defence coach Sinfield, that alerted the national team, who decided to replace Eddie Jones with the pair.

That gutted the heart of the Midlands outfit’s coaching staff, forcing them to rebuild with Richard Wigglesworth as the interim boss.


“Obviously it’s been a big transition. Well, I won’t say a big transition, but a lot of getting used to,” Wiese told The Big Jim Show. “I felt like I had a feeling, especially when it got bad with the media and stuff with Eddie. I thought they might bring in someone else but I didn’t think they’d take Steve immediately.

“And then after the Clermont game, he [Borthwick] came into the changing room and said, well, that’s him, he’s done. Kev stepped up and everybody’s like, okay, he’s going to announce that he’s becoming the interim head coach. And he said, Steve’s giving him the opportunity to go with him.

“So yeah, that was a shock for me. I thought he’d at least give us a lead-up and say, ‘well, see I’ve got two games left. Let’s make it the best that we can.’ And I haven’t spoken to any of them since. I must do it.

“Maybe I’m still a bit bitter, but that’s selfish of me. Because yeah, both of them played a big part in where I am today. Kev maybe a bit later on.

“But Steve has been the coach that spotted me to come to Leicester and then obviously pushed me to become better when I arrived here. Literally, no one knew who I was. And he, him and Aled [Walters] working together, put a lot of work in with me.

“So I think I’m a bit selfish and I’m mad at them, but I’d grant them the opportunity.”

Despite the disappointment of seeing Borthwick and Sinfield depart, Wiese is happy that they have been given the opportunity to coach at international level.

A great job

“Steve deserves it. Even though you might argue he’s a bit young or anything, the amount of work he put in the two years, I’ve seen it and I’m sure he’ll do a great job with England as well,” he said.

“We (the Springboks) were playing Italy, or well, that was my last week in camp and so I phoned Hanro (Liebenberg), the club captain, and I asked him ‘Steve said anything? We’re seeing all of this, in the media’. And he said ‘No, no, he hasn’t said anything.’

“Then I got a week off when I came in or I played one game then got a week off, phoned him again and he said ‘Yes, Steve spoke about it. But he said he hasn’t signed anything’ and that he’s (Liebenberg) in the dark as well. And I was like ‘okay, well maybe my suspicion is wrong. Maybe the media is just hyping this whole big thing up.’

“So then it was a genuine shock when it came because when we got to the changing room after the game, I sat next to Lenny (Ben Youngs) and he said: ‘Something’s going on’.

“Nobody knew. We’d just won (beaten Clermont in the Champions Cup). So I told them that it was a good game and everything. He (Youngs) was like ‘something’s going on’, because Steve never brings his wife into the changing room. He always brings his kids.

“Wilksy (Richard Wilks) just sprinted to Steve and they were talking and stuff. And I was like ‘oh surely not like this, like surely not like this’. And well, obviously it was like that. So a bit disappointing, but I’m really glad for him and for Kev.”

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