Steve Borthwick is looking at his role as England head coach as a second chance after admitting he has regrets from his time captaining the side.
Borthwick was appointed last month following Eddie Jones’ departure from the role after seven years in charge.
He played for England 57 times, captaining them in 21 of those matches in a career that spanned almost a decade between 2001 and 2010.
But despite having such a prominent role as a player for his country, Borthwick admits he has regrets and is making it a priority to ensure the current crop of players do not feel the same when they call time on their own careers.
He said: “My strategy is to be very up front and be authentic to me.
“What is that? To care deeply about my players, I want them to play for England and show the best of themselves.
“As a player I was privileged to have played 57 times for England, I had the great honour of captaining England on 21 occasions, but I look back and I regret a lot of the things I didn’t do.
“Did I ever feel that I gave the best account of myself? Would I like to go back and rewind and do it again? Yeah, I would.
“I can’t unfortunately, as Owen (Farrell) keeps reminding me, I am old, but as a coach I want to help these young guys not make the same mistakes I made, come back and when they are old like me, have regrets.”
Borthwick’s approach of trying to get the very best of his players is nothing new but having been in his players’ shoes, he perhaps has something up his sleeve that could set him apart from previous regimes.
“I don’t want them to have any regrets or look back and think ‘I wish I could have done that’ or ‘I wish I could have done this’ – let’s just do it,” he added.
“We are going to make mistakes – one thing I can promise you is we are going to make mistakes.
“We have some really talented players and I want them to bring their strengths in an England shirt, like we all do.
“We will focus on getting better, whether we win or whether we lose, next week we’re going to get better.”
He is under no illusions however that the task ahead of him in the next fortnight before England’s Guinness Six Nations opener against Scotland is a big one.
Jones’ last two Championships saw England win just two matches and during the Autumn Nations Series they could only muster victory over Japan and a sensational comeback draw against New Zealand.
That recent form is a worry for Borthwick, but one he is excited for in a massive year for rugby union with a world cup on the horizon.
He said: “The reality is, we are a bit behind, and we all saw that in the autumn, but every England supporter in this room wants their team to perform better than it did in the autumn.
“I want to make sure this England team improves on where it was and we want to win every match that we go into, this is an incredible opportunity we have with a World Cup at the end of the year.
“But every game matters and that is going to be clear from me from the get-go.
“And first up, we have Scotland in this unbelievable Championship that is the Guinness Six Nations.”