England: Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter ‘very pleased’ by Steve Borthwick’s appointment

Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter says it was no surprise to see Steve Borthwick appointed as Eddie Jones’ successor and has welcomed the decision from the RFU.

Borthwick was unveiled as the new England head coach earlier this week, signing a five-year deal that will take him through to the 2028 Rugby World Cup. 

Baxter pleased with decision

After presiding over England’s worst year of results since 2008, which consisted of five wins from 12, Eddie Jones was sacked and replaced by his former assistant coach. 

43-year-old Borthwick masterminded Leicester’s Premiership title triumph last season, with his success making him the leading candidate to replace Jones. 

Borthwick was rewarded with the top job following his accomplishments with the Tigers, and although the Premiership will be losing one of their best coaches, Baxter says it is a pleasing outcome for the league.  

“I am pleased that the RFU (Rugby Football Union) are looking at the Premiership,” Baxter said.

“It is a good indicator of the game in general if that is the progress that can happen through the English coaching ranks. I am very pleased for Steve, and I hope he goes very well.

Player management

Baxter praised Borthwick’s work at Leicester, highlighting his success in refreshing his squad and getting the players on board with what he wanted to achieve. 

“He has got a lot right at Leicester, both in the coaching and the direction he has given that team,” he explained.

“They are very aligned in how they play – that’s their big strength. Across the board, they buy into what that game plan is and execute it very well.

“On top of that, he has – over two or three seasons – refreshed the squad as a whole. He has shown both sides of the coin, really.

“You have got to get your squad right and build it within those restrictions you have, and once you have got that together, you also have to get that direction on the field. He has done those two things very well.

“He has had experience with England before, so I don’t think there was any surprise that he became the top candidate.”

Borthwick’s first game at the helm will be the Six Nations opener against Scotland on February 4.

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