Steve Borthwick: Anthony Watson hails Leicester Tigers boss as rumours continue about England switch

Leicester back Anthony Watson has hailed Steve Borthwick as “a ridiculously good coach” as rumours continue about a possible move to the England hot-seat.

Following the sacking of Eddie Jones by the Rugby Football Union after seven years at the helm, there has been growing noise surrounding Borthwick’s future.

The current Leicester Tigers head coach is the bookmakers’ heavy favourite to take over from Jones due in part to his impressive work at the Premiership outfit.

Ridiculously good coach

Tigers’ turnaround in fortunes has largely been down to Borthwick‘s work with the team and Watson believes England would get a top coach if they go with him.

“I don’t really want to get caught in the if or when of him going, but what I will say is that Steve is a ridiculously good coach,” revealed the former Bath star.

“The whole set-up at Leicester, I want to play for all of the coaches. Kev (defence coach Kevin Sinfield) is one of the most inspirational blokes I have ever met, Steve is straight down the line but an absolute legend, a guy who I would ride out for, and the same with Wiggy (player-coach Richard Wigglesworth).

“I don’t know what it is – I can’t even put my finger on it – but I just want to play for those guys.

“Steve is genuinely an honest bloke. He will tell you exactly how it is. There’s no sugar-coating it. Whether you like it or not, he is going to tell you.

“And secondly, everything he says is backed up by evidence. I remember in pre-season he came up to me and we were talking about the breakdown.

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“He said he had watched every one of my carries for the last two or three years and what I needed to do on the ground to make sure we can retain possession.

“I don’t know how many carries that would have been, but two, three years’ worth of carries is a decent amount. For him to trawl through all of that just shows you how dedicated he is.”

Despite hailing Borthwick’s credentials, Watson has paid tribute to the departed Jones, with the back three player featuring in 39 England games under him.

Another world-class coach

“Eddie is another world-class coach – and a world-class human,” he added.

“He was the first to call me after three months to see how my ACL recovery was progressing, how my Achilles was going, taking time out of running a World Cup programme to send me off to do one-on-one speed coaching.

“There are very few people who can see the bigger picture like him. I am disappointed I won’t be able to continue to work with him.

“There aren’t many people who give up their entire lives to rugby like Eddie Jones does.

“It is distressing to see someone give up so much – and then get so much heat from outside – when he has dedicated his life to the game.”

Watson was speaking after Sunday’s victory over Ospreys in the Champions Cup, a game he scored a scintillating try that was special to him after his injury woes.

“I want to help this team (Leicester) win and get to where we think we can get to,” he stated before addressing whether he still has hopes of returning for England.

“Week in, week out, if that gets me back into the England squad, then cool. If it doesn’t, that’s life, isn’t it?

“I am not putting unnecessary pressure on myself to get back into that squad. I just want to enjoy my rugby for a period.

“I want to be playing and training week in, week out and not worrying about any niggles or anything. What happens off the back of that, happens off the back of that.”

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