Kevin Sinfield believes 2023 can be a year to remember for England fans – and says he will assist Steve Borthwick in any way he can.
The Rugby League legend has been appointed England’s new defence coach but hinted that his remit will not end there as he and new boss Borthwick look to replicate the success the pair brought to Leicester Tigers.
Borthwick is expected to make further additions to his coaching personnel, and Sinfield says that all parties will be working in tandem to produce the best results possible.
“What worked really well at Leicester was how close Richard Wigglesworth (Tigers attack coach) and I were,” said Sinfield.
“We understood how important the transitions were. I want to build the same relationship with our attack coach here.
“That alignment is going to be really important to how we play. I played in a position where it was my job to ensure we scored points.
“So I understand how important it is that not only are we good defensively, but we score points, and we are a threat.
“I am happy to be utilised wherever Steve asks or wants me to be. The great thing about our coaching team at Leicester is that it was very fluid. At times, Wiggy would help me on defensive stuff; I’d go and help him on some of the attack stuff.
“Wherever I can, I will try and help.”
The latest Calcutta Cup clash is the first fixture in a huge year for English Rugby.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) January 4, 2023
But rather than feeling the pressure, England’s new-look coaching team are excited to see what they can achieve with what Sinfield believes is a supremely talented group.
“The talent available to us is wonderful,” he said. “When speaking to the players I could see the glint and sparkle in their eyes and I’ve been really impressed with everything I’ve seen so far.
“I’m genuinely excited about what this team can do. We’ve got some wonderful players.
“I think it can be a really exciting year for them, and I think they realise that.”
For England’s playing staff, their most recent memories of Twickenham are not the happiest. At the climax of a difficult Autumn Nations Series, they were suffocated by world champions South Africa, leaving the home crowd subdued and dispirited.
Borthwick, a former England captain, knows all too well the influence the Twickenham crowd can have on matches, as does Sinfield, who played one Rugby League World Cup fixture on the hallowed turf back in 2000.
And Sinfield says that he and Borthwick are hoping to build a formidable relationship between players and punters, starting with the visit of England’s old rivals.
“Steve has mentioned about getting the fans and supporters back behind us, he mentioned about hearing that roar at Twickenham,” said Sinfield.
“I am certainly a passionate Englishman; I know Steve is and wants to do well for England.
“Rugby has the power to bring communities together, and hopefully for that first game, there is a huge crowd behind us that are passionately behind the team and where we are going.”