Six Nations: Jamie George wants England 'courage' as Steve Borthwick vows to erase failure fears

Pointing the way: Jamie George's England captaincy began on a somewhat flat note at the Stadio Olimpico (REUTERS)
Pointing the way: Jamie George's England captaincy began on a somewhat flat note at the Stadio Olimpico (REUTERS)

England have vowed to trade a fear of failure for a new era of Red Rose courage.

Head coach Steve Borthwick ran a candid rule over England’s patchy 27-24 Six Nations win over Italy in Rome, admitting that his side have serious work to do to hit the desired levels.

But then Borthwick also insisted that he is desperately trying to change a long-term England culture problem, of players being almost crippled by fearing the ramifications of mistakes.

Captain Jamie George also insisted that England must usher in a new emphasis on having the courage to seize the biggest moments in matches through positive action.

Italy outscored England three tries to two at the Stadio Olimpico, seizing an added-time score to put a last-ditch dampener on the Red Rose relaunch under new skipper George.

But England still ground out the result, and both Borthwick and George are confident that they can press ahead with quick progress, especially with Wales up at Twickenham next weekend.

“For a long time, and I felt this as a player with England squads, the possibility of making a mistake and the ramifications upon it, caused problems,” said Borthwick.

“Players were therefore not bringing all their strengths onto the pitch for fear of making a mistake.

“What I see with this group of players is that they are determined to do well and have incredible skills.

“We will make mistakes because this is a new team. We need to ensure the players will learn from it, and I want the players to keep getting better and better.

“I want to decrease that concern and worry that’s been in teams previously. That was my personal experience of playing for England.

“I want the players to come on and put on that white shirt and grow and be even better than they were before. I want the white shirt to help them be even bigger and stronger."

England trailed 10-0 and 17-8 as Italy ran in scores from Alessandro Garbisi and Tommaso Allan.

Elliot Daly and Alex Mitchell struck back however, with five George Ford penalties helping England pull away to 27-17.

Monty Ioane’s stunning converted score in added time dragged Italy back to within three points, to ram home England’s labours.

But new skipper George was satisfied with the result, and is also looking for quick improvements.

“I think it’s not so much risk as having the courage to execute the gameplan as best as we can,” said George.

“That’s what we’re talking about and we’re very lucky that our coaching staff are very clear about how we want to go after things.

“As a player that just means we’ve got to have the courage to go and do it.

“Sometimes the pressure comes on and you might want to sit back and worry about not making a mistake.

“That has been the case previously. What pleased me most today was that we got cut a couple of times in the first half.

“But did that take anything away from our line speed? Absolutely not. We had the courage to keep going after them.”

England boss Borthwick refused to sugar-coat a performance littered with pitfalls and problems, even though his side emerged victorious.

England host Wales at Twickenham on Saturday, and will need to sharpen up in almost all areas.

“I was very pleased with the result and that the players found a way to get a result,” said Borthwick.

“But I do think there are a lot of areas we must improve. We gave Italy scores too easily and we’ll look very closely at what needs to be improved with that.”