Steve Borthwick and Andy Farrell address heated Six Nations half-time spat as tempers boiled over

Jared Wright
England head coach Steve Borthwick and Ireland boss Andy Farrell during the 2024 Six Nations clash at Twickenham Stadium.

England head coach Steve Borthwick and Ireland boss Andy Farrell during the 2024 Six Nations clash at Twickenham Stadium.

England and Ireland’s head coaches clashed at half-time of the Six Nations clash at Twickenham on Saturday.

It is not clear what triggered the argument between the two coaches on the sidelines, but cameras captured the pair trading verbals before trotting back into the changing rooms side by side.

Steve Borthwick and Andy Farrell played together in the Saracens team during their careers, and the England boss insists that he still has a “good relationship” with Farrell.

It was a tense Six Nations fixture at the home of English Rugby, with Marcus Smith slotting a match-winning drop goal in the last play of the match to secure an unlikely 23-22 victory over the double Grand Slam-chasing Irish.

What was said?

After the match, Ireland boss Farrell wasn’t giving anything away about the content of the spat with Borthwick, laughing the situation off.

“Just: ‘How are you doing, Steve? Nice to see you again. Not spoke to you for a long time.’ All good,” Farrell said.

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Meanwhile, when asked about the incident, Borthwick followed a similar theme in his response.

“That’s between Andy and I,” the England boss said. “I know people want to read into things, but Andy and I have a good relationship.

“We were co-captains together at Saracens, we coached together on the Lions in 2017 and I have an incredible respect for him and what he has done with that team which, as I say, is a phenomenal team.

“We are absolutely fine, Andy and I have known each other for a long time, we played with each other for England.

“We both represented England in the 2007 World Cup, so we go back a long way and what he has done with the Ireland team is just incredible, very special. They are an incredible team and I thought today was a very special Test match.”

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Farrell on England

Meanwhile, Farrell was also very complimentary of England and Borthwick.

“Look at the quality of the players that they’ve got,” said Farrell.

“Certainly when you’re coming off the back of a defeat it tends to concentrate the mind a little bit – hopefully it does for us next week.

“We always prepare for every game for everyone to be at their best.

“I thought they were super tonight, I thought they were physical, they were challenging on the gain line and played a nice brand of rugby as well.

“To cut a long story short, I actually thought that England deserved to win.”

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