Steve Borthwick insists focus on Leicester despite England uncertainty

<span>Photograph: Matt Impey/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Matt Impey/Shutterstock

Steve Borthwick says he expects to be in charge at Leicester Tigers for at least another week and insists he and his club will not be distracted by the uncertainty over England’s vacant head coach role.

Borthwick remains the prime candidate to replace the sacked Eddie Jones but negotiations with the Rugby Football Union over the amount of compensation due to Leicester are ongoing.

The 43-year-old Borthwick will take charge of the Tigers side heading to Swansea to face Ospreys in the Champions Cup on Sunday and answered “Yes” when asked if he anticipated being in the home coaching box at Welford Road next Saturday for the visit of Clermont Auvergne. Otherwise the former England captain politely declined to be drawn into speculation about a return to international coaching.

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“We play the Ospreys on Sunday night, that’s my focus, that’s what I’m here to talk about,” he said. “Within Leicester Tigers there is no talk of anything other than the game. Me, the coaching team, the players and everybody around the team continue to try and get better each day, which we’ve done since the day I walked in here. That will continue to be the case.”

Borthwick did confirm, though, that he had spoken to Jones this week and praised the Australian’s coaching attributes. “We would be here all day if I tried to talk you through all of them. I could talk about the work ethic, the desire to learn, how he never ceases to want to be better and improve the players and help them achieve their dreams.

“What I’ll [also] talk about, which I don’t hear talked about very much, is the generosity of the guy. I’ve seen him help coaches from all around the world. He loves the game and he’s an incredible coach.”

Interestingly Borthwick has left out a number of international players for Leicester’s visit to south Wales, with Freddie Steward, Ben Youngs, Dan Cole and Argentina hooker Julián Montoya all rested.

“It’s certainly one of the challenges when you have a number of international players. At some point the players need to recharge and there’s always a decision about when that is.

“This week is the right week for many of them. It’s not ideal but sometimes life’s not ideal. You’ve just got to get on with it.”