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England captain Steve Borthwick and his team are mindful of the significance and responsibility attached to wearing the English jersey as they prepare for a challenging match against Ireland.
Rugby union Sport

England captain Steve Borthwick and his team are mindful of the significance and responsibility attached to wearing the English jersey as they prepare for a challenging match against Ireland.

Steve Borthwick thinks that the England players have been feeling pressure from wearing the jersey while trying to improve their Six Nations performance against Ireland this Saturday. He also believes that the inconsistent choices of players during Eddie Jones’s time as coach has had a negative impact.

As England gets ready to go against what Borthwick considers the top team globally, the coach has decided to make three modifications to the lineup after their previous 30-21 defeat by Scotland. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso will be making his first start, while Alex Mitchell and George Martin have also been added to the team.

Unfortunately, Borthwick’s advancements were limited due to Marcus Smith’s recent return from a calf injury, leading to his placement on the bench. Additionally, full-back George Furbank will maintain his position as Freddie Steward continues to be excluded. In light of these circumstances, the head coach emphasized the importance of consistent team selections to alleviate the strain on the players.

This comment is significant, especially considering previous comments made by former England wing Jonny May about the stress players experience behind the scenes, constantly worrying about their positions each week. During Borthwick’s time as coach, there has only been one instance where he hasn’t made changes to the starting team, with George Ford and Henry Slade being the only consistent players in the backline during this Six Nations.

According to Borthwick, there were mistakes made against Scotland. It’s possibly the first time in a long time that I witnessed the players struggling with the pressure of wearing the team shirt. In my own experience as a player and in other teams I’ve been a part of, I’ve seen many players struggle with the weight of the shirt and the intense scrutiny the team was facing.

We aim to create a supportive environment for our players and acknowledge that mistakes may occur. What I am seeking is a positive response to these mistakes. What can we learn from them? How quickly can we move past them? This weekend’s game is the perfect opportunity to boost team morale and add fuel to our players at Twickenham. It is a chance for the players to come together and showcase their energy and determination as they face the toughest team in the world.

When asked about his strategy for motivating his players, Borthwick stated that they aim to create a positive atmosphere where mistakes are expected, but the focus remains on doing the correct actions. He expressed his confidence in the players, despite their errors in the previous match against Scotland, and acknowledged their growth over the past year. Moving forward in the Six Nations, he believes that this team is ready for the next stage of their journey.

The consistency of the choices is a crucial element. Upon further examination, it appears that the consistency of selections in recent years has not always been apparent, and this has not benefitted the team by having frequent changes.

“I have thoroughly examined the patterns of the England team in past cycles and compared them. One of the factors that stood out was the lack of consistency and harmony in team selection. It is evident that there have been instances where this was not prioritized. It has been observed that England’s success is often linked to having a dominant club team that contributes a significant number of players.”

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On the other hand, Hugo Keenan will return for Ireland as they face England, but they will have to play without James Ryan, who will not be available for the rest of the Six Nations due to an injury. Keenan has recuperated from a knee injury that had kept him out of the 31-7 win against Wales and will take the place of Ciaran Frawley as the only change in Andy Farrell’s starting lineup.

Ryan, who was not heavily involved in the championship, experienced an unexpected bicep injury during training on Wednesday. As a result, he will not be participating in the upcoming match at Twickenham or the final match against Scotland next week. Garry Ringrose has recovered from a shoulder injury, but will not be making his return to international competition yet, as the midfield duo of Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki have been performing exceptionally well.

The Irish team, who have achieved bonus-point victories over France, Italy, and Wales, are currently in pursuit of consecutive grand slams. However, while a win in their upcoming game in southwest London could secure their title with one game to spare, coach Farrell is warning against overconfidence. He chooses not to pay attention to any criticism of England’s performances in the championship. Instead, he focuses on individual players, the coaching staff, and the game plan of their opponent, acknowledging that they are a strong team ready to give their all in the upcoming match.

“This makes them extremely hazardous. Therefore, we must be fully prepared for them to perform at their peak. If this is the case, it will surely be a fierce battle. Given that they are at their best, it is safe to say that they will be one of the toughest teams to defeat in international rugby.”

Source: theguardian.com