Steve Borthwick demands different mindset for different Six Nations results

Steve Borthwick at 2024 Six Nations launch event Steve Borthwick says England’s Six Nations record must improve (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Steve Borthwick admits England’s recent record in the Six Nations is unacceptable having repeatedly failed to deliver on expectations.

Borthwick offers a damning win ratio of only 50 per cent from the last six Championships – a sequence that has included two fifth-place finishes under his predecessor Eddie Jones – as evidence of underperformance.

Starting with their opener against Italy in Rome on February 3, Borthwick is determined for England to use his second Six Nations as head coach to ignite a revival.

“We want to make sure this England team is competing in every single game, which is not something you can say about recent years,” Borthwick said at the tournament launch in Dublin.

“The expectations of supporters are a lot higher than what the team have actually achieved – and quite rightly.

“The team is really well aware that we haven’t performed in the Six Nations for a period of time.

“Ireland and France have been the dominant teams and everybody is trying to compete with those two sides.

“What’s happened in the past is that lots is talked about England prior to the tournament, but England haven’t then achieved.

“Our intent is to hit the ground running in Rome the way we want with the intensity that we want to, which again is something that England have not done in recent years.

“At times we have not jumped into this tournament and have been caught in that first game.

“We want this to be a different mindset for England, a different way of approaching the game and the tournament. And we will approach our camp in Girona differently.

“We’re taking a different approach because we need different results to previous tournaments.”

England depart for their pre-Six Nations training camp in Girona on Tuesday nursing a number of minor injury concerns, especially to their back five.

Hot on the heels of George Martin being ruled out for a number of weeks because of a knee problem, his fellow Leicester lock Ollie Chessum failed a head injury assessment on Champions Cup duty on Saturday while flankers Ben Curry and Sam Underhill are struggling with ankle problems.

Borthwick is optimistic that each of them will be able to play full roles in preparation to face Italy, as will hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, centre Oscar Beard and wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, who are also in the treatment room.

England’s head coach was present at the Six Nations launch in Dublin in defiance of Storm Isha, which has caused travel chaos across Great Britain and Ireland.

Borthwick’s newly-appointed captain Jamie George was prevented from travelling from London by cancelled flights, while France were unable to attend in any capacity because of the weather.

Six Nations chief executive Tom Harrison was also missing from the event, which forms the annual centrepiece of the build-up to the tournament.

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