England expect Eddie to be at RWC as new coach named, Laporte suspended over corruption charges

After seven years with an Australian in charge England rugby union bosses have chosen one of their own to replace Eddie Jones.

It is not, however, a complete break from the regime of Jones.

Steve Borthwick, who worked alongside Jones from 2012-2020, with both Japan and England, has been appointed as England head coach on a five-year contract.

Borthwick, 43, who won 57 caps for England, masterminded Leicester’s Premiership title triumph last season.

Jones was sacked almost two weeks ago after presiding over England’s worst year of results since 2008, managing only five wins from 12 games.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) also announced that Leicester assistant coach and former Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield will join Borthwick as defense coach at Twickenham.

Borthwick will take up his England role immediately, the RFU said, with Sinfield beginning work later this week.

“I am deeply honored to be appointed England head coach, and I am very excited by the challenge,” Borthwick said via a statement.

“The English game is full of talent and I want to build a winning team which makes the most of our huge potential and inspires young people to fall in love with rugby union the way I did.

“I want the whole country to be proud of us and to enjoy watching us play.

“The hard work starts now. I will give it everything.”

Eddie Jones and Steve Borthwick chew the fat

Eddie Jones with Steve Borthwick. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Jones may have moved on as England rugby manager, but the Rugby Football Union (RFU) admits axing the 62-year-old could come back to bite them at next year’s World Cup in France.

With a strong World Cup pedigree – he took the Wallabies to the 2003 final and inspired Japan’s memorable giant-killing of South Africa in 2015 – there is every chance the Australian may pop up at the 2023 tournament. “I’d be amazed if he wasn’t there (at the World Cup),” RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said. “Does he go there (with Australia) as a consultant? Does he go to the US, to Japan? I don’t know.

“There was absolutely no breakdown in (our) relationship with Eddie.

“We spoke to a lot of the players. Eddie is a competitor, he’s passionate. He likes that squad and he’s got a good relationship with that squad. The players generally like him. He would have wanted to have carried on through to the World Cup.

“The results consistently were less than expected in the last 12 months. We clearly came out with the point of view that we weren’t convinced it was going to get better.

“It just didn’t seem to be clicking. Eddie had a very clear strategy about how he wanted to play … but it just wasn’t happening.”

Laporte suspended over corruption charges

Bernard Laporte has been suspended as French Rugby Federation president while he fights a suspended two-year sentence on corruption charges.

Laporte self-suspended as World Rugby vice-chairman last week, within hours of a Paris court finding him guilty of passive corruption, influence peddling, illegal interest taking and misuse of corporate assets.

He was banned from holding any position in rugby for two years but his lawyer Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi said he would appeal the ruling, meaning the former France coach and sports minister could keep the FFR presidency for now.

Laporte refused calls to resign from the French sports minister and the FFR’s own ethics committee.

But at a federation board meeting on Monday, Laporte accepted a suspension. He will remain president but suspended until a final ruling in his case. He will no longer take part in decision-making bodies nor sign any commitments on behalf of the FFR.

Bernard Laporte. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)

An interim president will be appointed until Laporte’s judicial appeal is finished.

French sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said Laporte should benefit from the presumption of innocence until a final ruling was reached. But she insisted his sentencing put him in an untenable situation and called on French rugby to act. Laporte is set to meet with the minister on Thursday.

The case focused on Laporte and Mohed Altrad, the owner and president of Montpellier rugby club, who was also found guilty of active corruption, influence peddling, and misuse of corporate assets.

France hosts the Rugby World Cup next year.

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