"On the ropes" - Steve Borthwick’s future had already been decided before World Cup - Ruck

“On the ropes” – Steve Borthwick’s future had already been decided before World Cup

Reports prior to the World Cup suggested that Steve Borthwick’s position as head coach of the England rugby team was secure, irrespective of the team’s performance in the upcoming World Cup.

This was primarily due to the Rugby Football Union (RFU) being presently unable to afford the substantial £3 million payout required to terminate his contract.

As one high-ranking source told the Mail Online, “After paying Leicester something like £500,000 compensation to get Borthwick last year, on top of huge severance [pay of about £1.4 million] for [former coach] Eddie Jones, there’s no appetite to sack Borthwick. It would be too expensive.” Another source added,

“The RFU is on the ropes financially. They are expecting to suffer huge losses over the next couple of years.”

The prospect of dismissing Borthwick and his coaching staff in the event of a disappointing World Cup campaign would have proven to be a costly one, potentially reaching a staggering £3 million. Given the significant expenses already incurred, such as the £500,000 compensation paid to Leicester to acquire Borthwick’s services and the approximately £1.4 million severance package for former coach Eddie Jones, there was a notable reluctance within the RFU to part ways with Borthwick. The financial burden of such a decision was simply too substantial to bear.


Interestingly, despite these financial constraints, the RFU was offering its players potentially larger bonuses for success at the World Cup than any other governing body. In the unlikely event that England emerged victorious in France, each player stood to receive a considerable RFU bonus of approximately £212,000.

This figure surpassed the bonuses offered by other federations, with the French team expected to receive around £172,000 per player for a victory, while New Zealand and Australia’s players could see bonuses of up to £100,000 from their respective federations in case of triumph.

However, support for Borthwick had greatly improved as he guided the team to the World Cup semi-finals.

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#5. Chris Robshaw (England)

The flanker is a former English rugby union player who captained the national team from 2012 to 2015.

Known for his exceptional work rate and leadership skills, Robshaw was a dynamic flanker who made a significant impact on the field. He enjoyed a successful club career with Harlequins, where he played for over a decade. Robshaw’s dedication and commitment to the sport earned him numerous accolades and the respect of his peers.

Off the field, he is admired for his philanthropic efforts, using his platform to support various charitable causes.

Owens said: “Some people will be surprised at this one to start off. His misfortune was perhaps to be leading England during a difficult time, but he always gave everything for the cause, encouraging others to follow suit, and he was a nice guy off the pitch.”