Bristol hit out at Steve Borthwick's England appointment
Tom Hamilton
December 15, 2015

Bristol and the Rugby Football Union are embroiled in a dispute after England announced the recruitment of Steve Borthwick as their new forwards coach only for the Championship side to say they have not agreed to his release.

The RFU announced Borthwick, 36, had agreed to become England's new forwards coach on Tuesday afternoon. However, a short time later, Bristol released a statement to the contrary saying a deal had not yet been brokered.

Borthwick only joined Bristol in October as their new forwards coach and the club claims discussions are still ongoing over a compensation deal for the ex-England captain.

"Steve Borthwick has today indicated to the club that he wishes to join the RFU coaching team," the Bristol statement said. "Bristol Rugby want to make it clear that we have not agreed that Borthwick can leave our employment.

"Borthwick is subject to a recently signed long term employment contract. Bristol Rugby did not give the RFU permission to speak with Borthwick. Bristol Rugby will take all reasonable actions as necessary to protect the club's position and, therefore, will not be making any further statement at this stage."

Prior to Bristol's statement, the RFU said Borthwick would link up with Eddie Jones -- the man he worked alongside at Japan as a coach and as a player at Saracens -- in time to prepare for the Six Nations and as Graham Rowntree's replacement.

"I have known him for a long time through Saracens and Japan and he has done fantastic work as a coach," Jones said. "Steve has a huge amount of international experience as a player and a captain and his coaching in Japan in recent years shows he can get the best out of the players at the highest level. He is a great addition and I look forward to working with him again as we look ahead to the start of the Six Nations next year."

Borthwick won 57 caps for England -- 21 as captain -- and made 265 appearances during his time at Bath and Saracens in their second-row.

"This is a really exciting opportunity to join the England set-up and to link up with Eddie again," said Borthwick. "This is a huge honour to be asked as these chances don't come around often. We have an exciting group of players in England and I am really looking forward to the challenge and getting England beating the best teams in the world."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.

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