MIKE BROWN: England are not buying into Steve Borthwick's plan

MIKE BROWN: England’s players are not buying into Steve Borthwick’s plan. They look miserable… but they can embrace being underdogs for the World Cup and say ‘stuff it, let’s go for it’ in France

  • England were beaten by Fiji 30-22 in their final Rugby World Cup warm up game
  • Their performances under Steve Borthwick of late have left a lot to be desired 
  • The Red Rose have now lost five of their last six matches ahead of the World Cup 
  • Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results

If we had our chance again at the 2015 World Cup I wish our playing group had taken more ownership and addressed things with the coaches when we felt things weren’t quite right.

We knew things with the preparation weren’t going well but nothing was said. I wish we had because we got to the World Cup and it came back to bite us.

Looking at this England team, it strikes me that the players are not fully buying into the game plan that the coaches are giving them.

If they do buy into it then they need to find a way to show that. They look miserable on the pitch. It looks like their confidence and belief is shot.

There’s not long so they need to stand up and say something to Steve Borthwick if they feel like things aren’t right. 

England were beaten 30-22 by Fiji on Saturday at Twickenham, the first time they have ever lost to the Fijians

It is the fifth defeat that Steve Borthwick’s (pictured) side have suffered in their last six games 

England take on Argentina on September 9 but come into the tournament off the back of some very poor form

The players need to take control. They’ve got big enough characters in there like Courtney Lawes and Ellis Genge. If they don’t, they will live to regret it.

I’m not sure the game plan fits the players, so is Borthwick the right man? We will find out at the World Cup. I wrote a while back that Scott Robertson should have got the England job and I stand by that.

I don’t know if the RFU rushed into the appointment. They say they’ve been working on a transition process for a couple of years but they’ve gone for the last English guy who won something. 

The thing about Robertson or Ronan O’Gara is they find a playing style that suits their players.

England will be counting on key players like Ellis Genge (pictured) to help lead them through the turbulent period

Scott Robertson’s (pictured) name was thrown in the hat in the past to take on the England head coach’s position when Eddie Jones departed the role

Whoever Borthwick selects is going to deliver the same results because the strategy will stay the same. 

The Argentina match is less than two weeks away and Bill Sweeney needs to come out and publicly back their man because everyone is writing him off and they will hear that.

I was stunned at how badly England’s performance unravelled after the first 20 minutes filled me with hope and optimism. What a contrast to Fiji, who played with so much style and passion.

England need to embrace the fact they’re huge underdogs now and say ‘Stuff it, everyone has written us off, let’s show everyone and go for it’.

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