"Steve Borthwick doesn't like him" - Former England coach Richard Cockerill lays into selections - Ruck

“Steve Borthwick doesn’t like him” – Former England coach Richard Cockerill lays into selections

Former England staff member Richard Cockerill didn’t hold back when discussing England’s disappointing performance against Fiji last Saturday at Twickenham (22-30).

Cockerill, who parted ways with the England team after the March tournament, minced no words as he expressed his concerns about their World Cup preparation.

With a candid and unfiltered approach, the ex-hooker with 27 caps for England didn’t shy away from criticizing some of Coach Steve Borthwick’s decisions, particularly in the number 8 position.

The defeat against Fiji has clearly raised eyebrows and left Cockerill questioning the team’s choices.

“It’s complicated at the moment… We feel that there is no confidence despite very good players,” said Cockerill.

“Maybe the team’s state of mind is not the same, they hit the ball all the time… If England beats Argentina (September 9), it would make things a little easier.

“If they lose, she should finish second in their pool and play a quarter against Australia, Wales or Fiji and we’ll see… It’s a good team but it’s not the same,

“I don’t know why. It’s weird. There is no freshness, no energy, it’s just… (he blows hard by making the sound of a fart)

He continued: “Who is the number 1 in 10? I don’t know. Who is the number 1 in 12? I don’t know. Who is number 1 in 8? For me? it’s Zach Mercer but he’s not on the list.”

“He is a good player, very good with the ball. He would make a good third line with Courtney Lawes and Tom Curry for example. It’s crazy…”

He was then asked about Sam Simmonds, who is another number 8 kicked to their by Borthwick.

“No. Steve Borthwick doesn’t like him. He prefers (Billy) Vunipola. For me, once again, Zach Mercer was the ideal starter for the World Cup. He is very good with the ball. Here in Montpellier, he wins the Championship (2022), he is elected best player of the season (2021-2022), it’s a great performance for a foreign player but…”

Sir Clive Woodward selects his England XV for 2023 Rugby World Cup

Writing in his column for the Mail Online, Woodward stated: “It’s time for Steve Borthwick to bite the bullet and tear apart England’s World Cup squad after poor warm-up displays and bans.”

Check out his full selection below.


15. Anthony Watson (Unattached)

14. Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons)

11. Henry Arundell (London Irish)

Woodward wrote: “I’d have Henry Arundell and possibly Max Malins on the wings but I’d seriously consider either Adam Radwan or Cadan Murley instead of Malins from outside the current squad.”


13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)

12. Fredie Steward (Leicester Tigers)

Woodward wrote: “To get the most out of Smith, he needs a back line equal to his attacking talents and a licence to play. With this in mind, I would consider playing Freddie Steward at inside centre.

“Steward is a great defensive full back but England need a running threat there which is why I would play Anthony Watson. For too long England’s midfield thinking has been dominated by Manu Tuilagi.

“We need to get creative. Steward is strong defensively and he would do well in midfield.”

He added: “It was a big call to leave out Slade in the first place but the paucity of the side’s back line displays in the last three weeks has shown England badly miss his footballing ability.”