Borthwick free to join England coaching team

Steve Borthwick is now free to join England's coaching line up

England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) have announced that Bristol have agreed to release former captain Steve Borthwick from his contract so that he can join England’s coaching set-up under new head coach Eddie Jones.

Thirty-six-year-old Borthwick agreed terms with the RFU earlier this week but Bristol blocked his appointment on the grounds that he had been contacted without the club’s permission.

“We very much appreciate that our approach for Steve has come at a challenging time for Bristol during the season, and in such circumstances I thank them for reaching this agreement,” RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said in a press release.

“I would like to thank in particular the club’s chairman Chris Booy for concluding the matter.”

The stand-off was embarrassing for the RFU, which had hoped that by appointing Jones it would draw a line beneath the humiliation of England’s World Cup group-stage exit on home soil in October.

Borthwick, who won 57 England caps and played in the 2007 World Cup final, is a line-out specialist and worked with Australian Jones in the Japan set-up before joining Bristol.

He follows defence coach Paul Gustard, formerly of Saracens, in joining Jones’s back-room staff ahead of next month’s Six Nations.

Jones began work earlier this month after being appointed on a four-year contract as the successor to Stuart Lancaster, whose tenure ended after the World Cup.

“On behalf of the club we wish Steve Borthwick the very best with England and we are pleased that we can move on and begin the process to recruit a new coach as quickly as possible,” said Bristol chairman Booy.

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