England head coach Eddie Jones and his players hailed Steve Borthwick’s influence on the national side as he prepares to embark on his new role at Leicester Tigers.
It was announced in January that Borthwick would join the Premiership club as head coach once he had completed his coaching commitments with England.
The 40-year-old will work under Geordan Murphy, the Tigers’ director of rugby, having joined the England coaching staff as Jones’ first appointment in December 2015.
And Red Rose boss Jones was one of many to sing the praises of forwards coach Borthwick during a tribute video posted on England Rugby’s social media channels.
“Steve has been a great servant for the England team, he’s been the coaching coordinator for the last four years and he has done a fantastic job,” said Jones.
“The players love him, he’s got an incredible work ethic, he’s got an incredible eye for detail and he’ll be sorely missed but at the same time we’re also pleased for him.
“He’s going back to coaching with the clubs and he’s got a chance to coach with more responsibility, which will be great for his growth and who knows, one day you might see him back in England again.”
During Borthwick’s time with England, he has helped the team to two Guinness Six Nations titles – including a Grand Slam in 2016 – and a 3-0 away Test series win against Australia.
Borthwick was also part of the coaching set-up when England went on an unbeaten run of 18 matches, equalling New Zealand’s record, and reached the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.
England lock Maro Itoje said: “My first year as a professional was Steve’s last year playing and at the time he was the captain of Saracens.
“Being able to watch and observe him, his professionalism, his attitude, his leadership, it gave me a perfect example of what a professional rugby player should be like.
“Since 2016 I have been able to work very closely with Steve and he’s had a huge impact on my career, he’s completely 100 per cent dedicated to the task at hand. You’ll find very few people who care as much about the players and the team and English Rugby as Steve Borthwick.”
As a player Borthwick played in 57 Tests for England from 2001-2010 and captained the side on 21 occasions while playing his club rugby at Bath and Saracens.
“I’ll miss him a lot, I’d probably never say it to his face and he would probably never want to hear it, but I genuinely consider him a friend,” said England hooker Jamie George.
“It’s funny as everyone sees the tough side, the stern, hard-nosed northerner who doesn’t smile too much but when he gives you those glimpses of finding something funny – it’s usually when we get stuck into Kruis – he normally likes it.
“I’m going to miss those moments and of course it’s great for him to be moving on and I’m sure he’ll be hugely successful. Just gutted for him to be leaving the environment.”
George Kruis added: “I was a teammate for a good chunk of my career and I’ve definitely learnt a lot from him. I highly respect the man, he’s a guy who has sacrificed a lot to get the players to where they are now.
“I just hope he has an unbelievable time at Leicester, he’ll suit that job unbelievably well. He’s already got the respect of all of the players.”