Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

After discovering a method to narrowly secure victories, Borthwick's England team is feeling energized and motivated.
Rugby union Sport

After discovering a method to narrowly secure victories, Borthwick’s England team is feeling energized and motivated.


England have taken a break to recharge at home for a few days following their second consecutive victory in the Six Nations. The team is feeling optimistic and energized, as expressed by Maro Itoje after their tough win against Wales on Saturday. He stated, “Winning makes life much more enjoyable – we return home with happy faces and our families greet us with joy instead of sadness.”

Steve Borthwick granted the players a day off last week, showing his awareness of the positive impact that some rest and relaxation can have. Many of these players were in training camp for five months straight last year, and it has not been overlooked that Borthwick’s ex-captain recently decided that playing for England was not worth the trouble. A large portrait of Owen Farrell remains displayed at the entrance of the Twickenham club shop.

The team will meet again at Twickenham on Wednesday, but Borthwick gave some veteran players extra time off. However, he was informed that everyone wanted to come back together. This shows two things: the team is currently in a good mood, and even though they won their first two Six Nations games for the first time since 2019, there is still a lot of work to be done.

That the recent Test retirees Courtney Lawes and Jonny May joined in the backslapping in the dressing room shortly after the victory against Wales only adds to the sense of bonhomie within the squad. Both wins to date have been secured by a total of five points, Borthwick’s side have managed just four tries across the two games and failed to produce anything of sufficient quality to give Ireland, who remain odds-on favourites to successfully defend their title, sleepless nights, but England seem content enough to celebrate the little wins.

On Saturday, some notable moments included Itoje’s crucial tackle on Ioan Lloyd, resulting in Ben Earl’s try. This was followed by a scrum with Sam Underhill playing at lock and Tommy Freeman at flanker. Additionally, George Ford executed a perfectly measured 50-22, giving England advantageous field position for the winning points. Freddie Steward also displayed his dominance in aerial plays as England reverted to their successful tactical approach from the World Cup semi-finals. They also met Itoje’s pre-game goal of conceding seven or fewer penalties. As a result, Borthwick’s team heads into their first break with a sense of optimism.

England captain Jamie George talks to his players during an injury break in the Six Nations match against Wales.

Display the image in full screen mode.

Despite any of the aforementioned factors, it is evident that their ability to attack, especially within the 22-meter line, continues to be unsatisfactory. It is also worth noting that they have consistently been trailing at halftime and it is possible that with a bit more strategic thinking, Wales could have secured the victory. Additionally, it cannot be ignored that England has only managed to defeat the same teams they have previously beaten in the last two championships and lost to Scotland, Ireland, and France. These three teams are yet to face England in this championship.

Borthwick stated that there is progress being made and the team is growing. Despite some mistakes, he is pleased with the character that has developed within the group. He admires the players’ perseverance and belief in finding a way to succeed even in challenging situations.

After winning on Saturday, several players emphasized how satisfying it was that England persevered through the challenge. It is worth mentioning that they have won eight out of their last nine games. This is the first time they have successfully overcome a halftime deficit of nine points or more at Twickenham. In contrast to a year ago, when the last 20 minutes of games were a struggle, it seems to have become a strong point for them. While it may not be the most impressive performance, it is still enough for the team to have confidence and something to be proud of.

Bypass the advertisement for the newsletter.

“Previously, when we were struggling, we may have been too focused on trying to catch up,” Itoje stated. “However, our current approach is to have faith in our systems, players, and strategy. We are confident that if we consistently make the right decisions over time, we will reach our goals. That is our ultimate goal.”

After Borthwick’s team reunites, they will receive a speech from the association of former England players to gain a better understanding of what it means to be a part of the England rugby community. The focus will then shift to their upcoming match against Scotland at Murrayfield on the following Saturday. England has only won one out of their last six Calcutta Cup matches, and Borthwick is fully aware of the danger that Scotland and their fly-half Finn Russell bring to the table.

Borthwick praised the player’s exceptional skills, stating that he has a remarkable talent for passing and finding open spaces. His agility and quickness in handling the ball and executing kicks are highly impressive. Additionally, his impressive range in his kicking game presents numerous challenges for opponents, making it challenging to strategize against. However, our team is determined to properly prepare and perform our duties this week.

Source: theguardian.com