"A clown" - Fans ask 'big question' of England boss Steve Borthwick after baffling decision - Ruck

“A clown” – Fans ask ‘big question’ of England boss Steve Borthwick after baffling decision

Gloucester’s Zach Mercer stole the spotlight with a stellar performance, propelling his team to a hard-earned victory against Exeter and securing their spot in the Premiership Rugby Cup final.

Despite missing out on a spot in the England A squad, Mercer showed his mettle, guiding the Cherry and Whites to a thrilling 17-14 win at Kingsholm Stadium.

In a tightly contested semi-final, Mercer’s brilliance was the deciding factor, as he played a pivotal role in setting up two of Gloucester’s crucial tries.

Fans took to social media to express their admiration for Mercer’s performance, with one supporter describing it as the best individual display seen in over two decades at Kingsholm.

They wrote, “The right result today as much for Zach Mercer deserving to be on the winning side, than anything else. No exaggeration to say that first half performance was individually the best I’ve seen in 24 years at Kingsholm. Crazy good and leaves Borthwick and England with big questions.”

Another fan criticized the treatment of Mercer by England and Borthwick, saying, “In sport, some coaches fancy a player, some don’t. However England/ Borthwick treatment of Mercer has been poor. In reality who would leave France to come back to the Prem without someone having a word in his ear that it would be worth his while.”

A different perspective was shared by another fan, “I cannot believe that the England Management cannot see what many people see each time Zach plays. He makes a difference.”

“Borthwick making the same mistakes as Eddie Jones and leaving out in-form players at the expense of his favourites,” wrote a fourth fan, expressing frustration.

Another added, “Yeah but Borthwick just wants a number 8 who can just crash it up like 99% of the others in the country imagine not wanting a player with the X factor who gives you something different.”

The ongoing debate underscores the challenges in player selection and coaching preferences, particularly concerning talents like Mercer, who bring a unique and impactful skill set to the field.

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Who could replace Steve Borthwick at Twickenham?

4. Rob Baxter – 12/1

Rob Baxter, who guided the Devon-based club from the Championship to European champions in 10 years has done this largely with a core of players that have come through the academy at Exeter.

With this season’s club performance not at the level of previous years, it may be time for him to move on and into the Test game in the near futuree.

Although Baxter joined the England coaching team for the summer tour to Argentina and Uruguay in March 2013, he has no experience outside of Exeter. “I would be happy to have a chat about what the role is, how they see it working and what their plans and ambitions are,” Baxter said of the England job back in December.

“Unless you know what it is, it’s hard to say yes or no to anything. At the same time, I’m not looking for another job! I’m very happy here,” he added.

Rob Baxter, Director of Rugby of Exeter Chiefs looks dejected after losing during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Bristol Bears and Exeter Chiefs at Ashton Gate on 20 May. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK