- Steve Borthwick has eased the pressure on his England side ahead of Wales tie
- The England coach insists he wants his players ‘to have the time of their lives’
- Borthwick wants to make Twickenham a fortress feared by opposition sides
Steve Borthwick has told his new-look team to cast aside the weight of expectation which has burdened previous England sides and enjoy the clash with Wales at ‘special’ Twickenham on Saturday.
‘It’s the most special place to play rugby in the world,’ said Borthwick ahead of the crunch Six Nations meeting between the two famous old rivals. ‘That’s the journey we want to start on Saturday. These are special days and sometimes you can lose just how special these days are. I want them to have the time of their lives playing for England.
‘There will be some players that have played a lot of Tests there. How many more have they got? But there’s some players I’m hoping are going to feel like Twickenham is their home for the next decade. I want them to feel this is a brilliant place to be.
‘From my experience as a player and as a coach, watching these players pull on the white shirt and running out at Twickenham is something that has weighed on them. We have not seen the best of them.
‘This weekend they start a new journey. The intention is that when they pull on that white shirt they build the best versions of themselves — especially at Twickenham. We want that to lift them even more.’
Steve Borthwick has told his new-look team to cast aside the weight of expectation which has burdened previous England sides
The England boss says his players should ‘have the time of their lives’ against Wales
Borthwick and new England captain Jamie George want to make Twickenham a fortress feared by opposition sides. That hasn’t been the case in the last two years.
England’s last game at Twickenham ended with the team being booed after a humiliating World Cup warm-up defeat by Fiji in August. Now, Borthwick is looking for a fresh start. He has named an unchanged side from the one which beat Italy 27-24 in Rome in round one.
It is the first time England have fielded the same XV in consecutive games since 2019.