Steve Borthwick says out-of-form England will persist with their current tactics

Steve Borthwick insists England will persist with their current tactics despite entering the World Cup with a losing run that has seen them installed as underdogs for their opener against Argentina.

Five defeats in six Tests have reduced expectations from outside the camp that they will make an impact in the tournament.

Argentina are positioned two places higher in the world rankings and England knows that if they fall again to the side that stormed Twickenham in November, they will have no room for manoeuvre in their remaining Pool D fixtures.

England v Argentina – Autumn International – Twickenham Stadium
Argentina’s players had a good day at Twickenham in November (Ben Whitley/PA)

Borthwick’s team have been criticised for their statistics-based gameplan that places a high emphasis on kicking but the head coach insists there is no time to change the approach.

“We always study the tactical elements of what we do. I said when I came in, we need to build a way of playing and to have a consistent base,” Borthwick said.

“You can’t change everything from one week to another week. You need to have a way of playing you can build upon.

“Ideally you start building that post the last World Cup, as most other teams have. You have seen the growth of Ireland and France – these teams who have started building since then. We’re not one of them.

“We’ve been trying to build it over the past six months and in many ways, because the coaching team only came together 10 or 11 weeks ago, we’ve been trying to do this for 10 or 11 weeks.

“What I’ve been trying to do is strengthen the direction we’re going in and trying to get better at it. For us it’s continuing the growth and making the foundations stronger.”

Borthwick is convinced England have the firepower to make an impact at the World Cup.

“I look at this team and see the likes of Ellis Genge, Joe Marler, Owen Farrell, Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje…the list could go on,” Borthwick said.

England Rugby Training Session – Twickenham – Friday 25th August
Steve Borthwick believes in England’s firepower (Adam Davy/PA)

“We’ve got players who know how to perform on the biggest occasions and that’s one of the central things we need to do this Saturday – perform together.”

“We’re going against a really good Argentina side, potentially the best Argentinian side in their history.

“So we know that’s a challenge but it’s one the boys can’t wait to get involved in.

“I can’t stress enough, coming to Le Touquet, being here – the World Cup’s really now begun. This is it. We are in it.”