Steve Borthwick to join Leicester Tigers as head coach after England duties end

Steve Borthwick
Steve Borthwick's only previous coaching experience at club level is a short spell as Bristol forwards coach in 2015

Steve Borthwick will join Leicester as head coach once he has completed his coaching commitments with England.

The 40-year-old will work under Geordan Murphy, who has been appointed as the Tigers' director of rugby.

Borthwick has been lined up to take a senior role at the Tigers for some time, and is the latest coaching change at Welford Road.

Leicester were 11th in the Premiership last season, their worst ever finish, and are in the same place this season.

The Tigers would be bottom but for Saracens' points deduction, and subsequent relegation, for breaching salary cap regulations.

"It's something I pushed for, I was keen to have somebody of Steve's calibre on board," Murphy told BBC Radio Leicester.

"I imagine Steve will run, as soon as he feels comfortable, the on-field side of it, putting the sessions of planning and the style of play, allowing me to take a step back and maybe do the things I'm more suited to, I'm very excited.

"Steve's one of the best coaches in the world, he's done an amazing job with the England forwards, his detailing around that has been amazing."

Murphy replaced the sacked Matt O'Connor as head coach of the once-dominant Tigers after a heavy defeat at Exeter on the opening day of the 2018-19 season, while former Bath coach Mike Ford was brought in to support club stalwart Murphy in March with the Welford Road club fighting relegation.

"The appointment of Steve Borthwick as head coach and Geordan Murphy in the role of director of rugby provides an exciting combination of leadership, expertise and experience to drive the club forward in its desire to challenge for major honours again," Leicester chairman Peter Tom told the club website.

"The club has enjoyed many of its greatest successes with a blend of the Tigers DNA alongside fresh, innovative ideas from outside, both among the players and the coaching staff, and we look forward to Geordan and Steve leading that in their respective new roles."

It was confirmed on Monday that Borthwick will leave his position within the England coaching set-up at the end of the season, and had changed his role from forwards coach to skills coach for the upcoming Six Nations.

'Among the brightest and most astute young coaches in the game'

Steve Borthwick
Steve Borthwick's distinguished playing career saw him win 57 England caps, play in one World Cup final and five Premiership finals between 1998 and 2014

Borthwick won 57 England caps in a career which saw him play in the 2007 World Cup final defeat by South Africa and captain the national side from 2008 until 2010.

He began his career with Bath in 1998, winning the European Challenge Cup and playing in two Premiership finals before leaving after a decade in 2008 to join Saracens, with whom he would see out his career.

He was captained the Saracens side that won the 2011 Premiership final where they beat Leicester 22-18 at Twickenham, as well as losing finals in 2010 and 2014 - his final game before retirement.

He also led Saracens to their first European final in his penultimate game - a 23-6 loss to a Jonny Wilkinson-inspired Toulon side in the Heineken Cup.

His first coaching role was alongside Eddie Jones as Japan's forwards coach, before having a short spell in charge of the forwards at Bristol, under ex-England boss Andy Robinson.

He left his role at Ashton Gate after just two months to link up with Jones again after the Australian had been installed as England coach after the 2015 World Cup.

"He is regarded among the brightest and most astute young coaches in the game and he played a prominent part in the coaching team which led England to the Rugby World Cup final last year," added Tom.

"He has a wealth of knowledge and experience at the very highest level as player and now as a coach, and has a clear vision of where he wants to take the team. We look forward to welcoming him on board."

Borthwick says Jones 'one of greatest head coaches in world'

Eddie Jones (left) and Steve Borthwick
Steve Borthwick and Eddie Jones have worked closely together since soon after the Englishman retired from playing in 2014

Borthwick paid tribute to Jones as he prepares to leave England's staff - his final game is set to be the Six Nations game against Italy in Rome on 14 March.

"The last four and a half years working with the England team has been an incredible journey. I have worked with some brilliant players and staff," he said.

"In particular, I would like thank Eddie Jones. To have worked with one of the greatest head coaches in the world for so long has been an unbelievable experience.

"I am delighted to be joining Leicester Tigers as head coach. The Tigers have such a long and successful history, and are one of the greatest rugby clubs in the game. Welford Road, with the special atmosphere created by the club's incredible supporters roaring their team forward, is a very special place to be.

"We must now work to build upon that great history, and create our future to get this club to the top of European rugby. It is a brilliant challenge and I am excited to start working with the players and everybody associated with the team."

Analysis

Chris Jones, BBC rugby union correspondent

This move has been on the cards for months, with the only question being when, not if, Borthwick moved to Welford Road.

Borthwick has been Jones' right-hand man for years, going back to their time with Japan, but the former England captain has clearly decided it is time for a move away from the national set-up.

How he works at Tigers with Murphy will be fascinating, as will how Borthwick's career path maps out from here on in.

All of Jones' original assistants from 2016 have now moved back into the club game - they must stay on the Rugby Football Union's radar for the future.

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