Owen Farrell insists that he has taken learnings from the tackle course he completed to reduce his four-game suspension to feature in England’s Six Nations opener.
The England captain will be available for their opening Six Nations Test against Scotland after completing the World Rugby coaching intervention programme to reduce his suspension to three matches after a dangerous challenge on Gloucester’s Jack Clement.
It’s the third time that Farrell has been suspended for the same offence, and adding to the furore was the RFU’s insistence that Saracens’ clash with Bristol on Saturday could form part of the ban, even though England internationals do not play in the final club game before the Six Nations.
“It’s not nice to be in that situation; it’s definitely not. Especially in that period when you don’t quite know what is happening,” Farrell said.
“Whatever decision was made, I would have accepted that decision and made sure I came ready to get on with what’s in front of us.
“I have been on the tackle course. It makes you look at what you could do better from the situation you were in in the first place, and I’ve obviously had time to step back and have a look at that and learn from it.
“It’s where the game is going in terms of making itself safer and making sure it’s played in the right way.”
“I’m not going to play mind games”
The former assistant to Eddie Jones said that he would not be playing mind games during the tournament, something his predecessor was renowned for during his seven-year reign.
“I’m not going to play mind games. I’ll leave that to other coaches,” Borthwick explained.
“My strategy is to be very upfront. What I’m going to do is be me and be authentic to me.
“What’s that? I care deeply about my players. I want them to go out onto the field and play for England and be the best version of themselves.
He added that his approach would be shaped by his own experience as an England second-row.
“As a player, I was privileged to play 57 times for England. I had the great honour of captaining my country on 21 occasions,” he said.
“Now I look back at a lot of that time, and I regret a lot of the things I didn’t do. Did I ever give the very, very best account of myself? I always put the effort in, but did I ever feel I put all my strengths onto the pitch?
“Would I like to rewind the clock and go back and try and do it again? Yeah, I would. I can’t, unfortunately, because I’m old and can’t do it, as Owen keeps reminding me.
“I want to help these young guys not make the mistakes I made. When they’re old and have no hair like me, I want them to not have regrets.
“I don’t want them looking back thinking ‘, I wish I’d done that, or I could have done that’. So let’s do it.
“I sense a hunger from the England players to get back out there and put some things right, make sure we put in some performances we can be proud of. But we’ve got work to do; that’s very clear,” Borthwick concluded.