Cyprus Mail

England being written off too soon, says Borthwick

england v fiji world cup warm up
England have suffered a dire run of results in the build-up to the tournament in France

England coach Steve Borthwick said his team have been written off too soon before the Rugby World Cup after a dire run of results in the build-up to the tournament in France.

Borthwick, who took over from Eddie Jones in December, has lost six of his nine games in charge, overseeing a 53-10 thrashing by France in March and England’s first ever loss to Fiji in their final World Cup warm-up last month.

England, runners-up in 2019, take on Argentina in Marseille on Sunday. They will also face Japan, Samoa and Chile in Pool D.

“We’ve been through a pretty turbulent time but I sense it has made us stronger,” Borthwick told the BBC. “I sense for us there is a renewed determination.

“I certainly get the feeling from the players that they feel they have been written off a bit too early. There is a feeling people have rung time on these players. I think that decision may have been made a little bit too early.”

England will be without suspended pair Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola for their opener against the Pumas.

Farrell was sent off for a high tackle against Wales last month and the captain said it was a “mistake”.

“It was a split-second thing. I am not trying to make excuses … It was a mistake and I accept it,” he said.

“I have massive confidence in the squad, because I know what this whole group is capable of … It’s a big, big game, played in a brilliant stadium, and I wish I was a part of it.”

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