England finished fourth in the Six Nations table after losing 29-16 to Grand Slam winners Ireland in Dublin; Steve Borthwick’s side now have less than six months to prepare for the World Cup in France; “I am delighted with what these players can do for the World Cup”
Last update: 03/19/23 10:04
England manager Steve Borthwick is “thrilled” by his side’s World Cup prospects despite their disappointing Six Nations campaign.
The Borthwick side, which suffered a 29-16 loss to Grand Slam winners Ireland, finished fourth in the standings after recording two wins and three losses for the third consecutive year.
Although England’s performance in Dublin was a big improvement on their 53-10 defeat by France a week earlier, there was no indication they could be major contenders for the world tournament this fall. .
“We will do a thorough account of this Six Nations, take lessons from it and be clear on our direction,” Borthwick said.
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell was delighted to win the Grand Slam on home soil while England’s Steve Borthwick admitted his team failed.
“The team is not where it could be and, although we are judging against teams who have used this four-year cycle extremely well, that is not the position England are in.
“There is nothing I can do about the past. I intend to work very hard to put England in the best possible position and I am delighted with what these players can do for the World Cup.”
The former Leicester manager, who replaced Eddie Jones in December, is relishing the prospect of having more time to work with his team over the coming months.
He added: “We have several weeks to prepare [for the World Cup]. The players will then be conditioned for international rugby and will understand how we want to play.
“It’s been five intense games and effectively then you have one main training session a week.
“I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to work with the players for a longer period of time. I think we’ve seen some growth here, but we’ll see more of that during this period of preparation.”
England led for much of the first half in Dublin thanks to the first two of three penalties from captain Owen Farrell, but suffered a setback just before the turnaround when Freddie Steward was sent off for foul play.
As the full-back spun to the side, his arm collided with the head of Irishman Hugo Keenan, who ducked to recover a loose ball, and referee Jaco Peyper issued a red card.
Despite being a man down, England pushed the home side all the way, scoring a try through Jamie George before Ireland secured a 29-16 success – and the trophy.
Reflecting on Steward’s red card, Farrell admitted: “I was surprised if I’m being honest. But it’s not up to us – we don’t make the rules, we don’t put them in place.
“We don’t hear the process followed by the referee, we just had to accept it. The way we reacted after this red card was very good.
“We fought for each other. Unfortunately, we weren’t on the right side of the result, which is always disappointing in an England shirt.”