Rugby World Cup 2023 – Steve Borthwick (England): “A great English team on the field”

Despite a very delicate first half, the XV de la Rose enjoyed an improved success against Japan. Coach Steve Borthwick was visibly delighted with his team’s performance despite an effective game plan which struggled to impress.

The contract is fulfilled with this five-point victory?

Yes absolutely, the players played well. It was a difficult match against the Japanese. They had a very different tactical plan than we thought, we saw the result. In the end, the players managed to achieve victory. The Japanese kicked 37 times in the game, are there any precedents in their past encounters? I do not think so. That says a lot about the challenge that was presented to us. Today Fiji tried a kicking game too. What is important is that the players adapt. We knew it would be difficult. But we scored four tries, we have the bonus, and it reflects what we built in this match. We expected a close match, especially in the first half.

We now see a development in our attack, a real offensive evolution

Did this Japanese team surprise you?

She played very intelligently. They played a lot with their feet, especially over the rucks or behind the advantage line, which is not their habit. They did it perfectly and that gives them even more credibility. This team was difficult to tackle, so congratulations to their coach.

You have been at the head of the English team for nine months. What do you think you brought to the team?

Already, having a full staff during preparation for the World Cup has helped us a lot. We are now seeing a development in our attack, a real offensive evolution, and we hope that this will continue. You know, game launches are the hardest thing to set up. This requires cohesion. Our fundamentals allow us to make the difference, our defense is in place, and we work very hard every day to reach the level of teams that have worked together for several years.

Some media present you as a weak team. What do you think ?

That’s not my opinion of the team, and it never has been. This opinion is shared in the press. I think we have fantastic players. I trust them. You will see this team develop, gain confidence and perform at the highest level. It’s a chance to work with this group. We are ready for this tournament, we have a lot of qualities. We’re going to play against Chile, and that’s all we can think about now.

Your supporters are very supportive of you. Do you think you give them back enough?

My players played well, I repeat, they knew how to carry out their actions. My great privilege brings us to next week, and the next match against Chile. I still expect a great English team on the pitch. All the support we receive is fantastic. It’s an incredible opportunity for us to be able to count on our supporters. They pay a lot to be here and follow the team. I am sure that they will still be present in numbers at the next match. We thank them infinitely, and we must pay tribute to them.

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