England Rugby World Cup: Matt is one of three coaches to depart as Steve Borthwick’s era begins

England Rugby side forwards coach Matt Proudfoot has left the setup as he becomes one of the first vicissitudes following the arrival of head coach Steve Borthwick. The Rugby Football Union (RFU) established his exit as the South African decided to step down after three years under former England Rugby head coach Eddie Jones.

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England Rugby World Cup: Matt is one of three coaches to depart as Steve Borthwick's era begins
England Rugby World Cup: Matt is one of three coaches to depart as Steve Borthwick’s era begins

Rumors in the press were established on Monday when Stellenbosch University’s rugby side, Maties, proclaimed that Proudfoot had been added to their staff. Proudfoot is not alone in leaving the England Rugby coaching setup with the RFU positive that Brett Hodgson and Danny Kerry have also both dead the group. RFU executive director of recital rugby, Conor O’Shea, supposed: We are very grateful to Matt for all he’s done for England and wish him every achievement in his next career move.

Proudfoot added: “It has been an honour to be part of the team for the last three years.”

Proudfoot was part of the Springboks Rugby World Cup-winning training side in 2019 before now-former head coach Jones brought him into his backroom team. Borthwick will be eager to hit the ground running as the Six Nations kicks off in five weeks and the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France begins in September. After a poor run in 2022 where England lost six of their 12 internationals, Borthwick supposed last month that he trusts he can bring back the glory days to the side.

Scotland first up for Borthwick’s England

There’s a lot of possibility in the players we have and I want to produce a side that delivers, so I’m going to devote myself enthusiastically to trying to help this team deliver and be a side that we can all be proud of, he claimed.

Eventually, on that first game of the Six Nations, will we be faultless? No. Is it going to be precisely how the side is going to play? No. It is going to be the start but what is unconditionally clear is the side needs to go out there, and it needs to fight. It needs to contest so when they walk out, I want this crowd busy. I want that Twickenham roar. Our job is to play in a way, fight in a manner and contend in a manner that keeps them roaring.

England Rugby World Cup: Matt is one of three coaches to depart as Steve Borthwick's era begins
England Rugby World Cup: Matt is one of three coaches to depart as Steve Borthwick’s era begins

England Rugby side to reach the Rugby World Cup final? Don’t bet against it

This feels like a time to look at gears in the round and Twickenham is a clear place to start, although this whistle-stop review of 2022 must address developments beyond the England side. 

It has felt somewhat of an annus horribilis for the sport in this country or at least the worst since the dawn of skill in the mid-1990s. One might label it as a year of slow-motion car crashes and chickens coming home to roost. 

Whose star is on the wane? 

England’s 27-13 loss to the Springboks, and the boos that resonated around the ground at full-time, hastened the sacking of Eddie Jones after a purgatorial autumn to end a year of walking water as far as visible progress for his side. Back at the same venue, less than a month later, Steve Borthwick was revealed as the new head coach. It was only then that any full reasoning for Jones’ departure was approaching. 

The decision and the conversation with the review panel were all about performance on the field of play, supposed Bill Sweeney, the chief executive of the RFU. Having supposed that, you don’t want to hear boos at Twickenham. No one likes to lose and fans are disapprovingly important to us. There’s a difference between running a business and consecutively a sport. In business, you’ve got your customers and your shareholders. In sports, we’ve got 1,900 club members of the RFU, 13 million followers on best, and hundreds of thousands of helpers, so that relationship is vital to us.

England Rugby World Cup: Matt is one of three coaches to depart as Steve Borthwick's era begins
England Rugby World Cup: Matt is one of three coaches to depart as Steve Borthwick’s era begins

In realism, it had become apparent that supporters had lost patience with the Rugby World Cup focus that was endorsed by those around Jones, including Sweeney and Conor O’Shea. With five home games for England scheduled in 2023 Scotland, Italy, and France in the Six Nations, and then two Rugby World Cup warm-ups next summer the RFU could not risk further apathy from fans because it might hit them in the wallet. Worldwide Tickets and Hospitality offers Rugby World Cup tickets for the France Rugby World Cup 2023 at the best prices. Rugby fans can buy Rugby World Cup Final Tickets at exclusively discounted prices.

Whose star is on the rise? 

Borthwick, a long-term lieutenant of his precursor, thoroughly merits the top job. Six months before his election, his Leicester Tigers side ousted Saracens in a tense Twickenham final to complete an extraordinary turnaround. 

What Borthwick attained over two and a half years in the East Midlands was not just an act of coaching, ending in a Premiership title won by Freddie Burns’ drop-goal. He brought a culture transplant as well. In that admiration, his task with England will be franker. Borthwick will up the set-piece and device tactical clarity. That will take the England Rugby side a long way.

The sport’s looming crisis 

Rugby union has more than one. There is corrupt pressure on officials, as shown by Wayne Barnes’ testament of his wife being endangered with sexual ferocity online. Added to potential legal arguments with concussion wounded, the sport needs an inoculation of verve at the community level. Worried by contribution numbers, the RFU keen £1m to save men’s grassroots rugby, via various creativities, back in August. 

Of course, the year will also be recalled for how two debt-ridden top-tier clubs, Worcester Warriors and Wasps, descended into administration within the space of a few chaotic weeks. Throughout the two unedifying sagas, which are still deep as new ownership is established, the human cost was laid bare. Maybe most stark was the admission of Worcester scrum-half Ollie Wynn that the club’s academy house had been reclaimed, forcing him to lodge with team-mate Ollie Lawrence. 

Both situations stained the sport and led to Sweeney and Simon Massie-Taylor, the chief managerial of Premiership Rugby, opposite a select committee. Each of them was requested if they had careful in their places. Covid could sensibly be stared as a contributory factor in both the own demises of Worcester and Wasps. However, it is unsafe to view two different business models finished with the same prism. 

Tighter governance from Premiership Rugby and the RFU would assuredly have aided and to his credit, Massie-Taylor is willing to step up. The well-regarded administrator wants to seize the needle and strengthen the expert game. Over the coming months, a league structure for the 2024-25 season will be recognized and then Premiership Rugby will work backwards to get there as far as demotion and promotion tactics. 

Tougher financial monitoring is another aim. Massie-Taylor, eying a crucial broadcaster deal, wants the second tier to be stable, not least to ensure that Worcester if they secure a place in the Championship and Wasps will be able to rebuild in a healthy environment. When we talk with broadcasters about the next cycle, we are going to be very conscious of aligning the whole game, Massie-Taylor told Telegraph Sport at the beginning of December. 

There is no story around the Championship. It is being live-streamed a few times but no one is effective in the story entirely. If you want a local footprint in professional rugby, you want to speak not of 10 or 12 sides but of 20 or 24. The timing of the broadcast agreement falls in line with the new league arrangement in 24-25. We would start those chats soon. We need to think of this as a relaunch, usually, of professional rugby come the 24-25 season. What precisely that looks like, how it’s advertised, and what the story is, that’s the bit we are employed on usually at the moment.

England Rugby World Cup: Matt is one of three coaches to depart as Steve Borthwick's era begins
England Rugby World Cup: Matt is one of three coaches to depart as Steve Borthwick’s era begins

The hottest ticket of RWC 2023 

The hope is that the men’s Rugby World Cup puts on a show that entices much-needed new spectators and new players. Providentially, as the women’s version in 2022 will have done, there is every accidental of that. 

France host New Zealand Rugby side on September 8 in what should be a fascinating curtain-raiser. As well as those two, Ireland and South Africa should be careful among the favourites. England is on the cooler side of the draw, taking on Argentina and Japan in the pool stages before a possible quarter-final in contradiction of one of Australia, Fiji, or Wales. Borthwick’s side could come up on the bars.

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