Japan

Jones: Borthwick will be big in Japan

Tue, 27 May 2014 12:18
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He'll really help raise the level of our line-out particularly
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Former England skipper Steve Borthwick's appointment as Japan's new forwards coach will give the Asian champions a huge boost at the World Cup according to coach Eddie Jones.

"He's a fantastic acquisition for us," said Jones, whose 'Brave Blossoms' secured their place at the 2015 tournament in England by beating Hong Kong 49-8 at the weekend.

Saracens captain Borthwick, capped 57 times by his country, is set to end his 16-year playing career when he leads the London club out in their English Premiership final against Northampton Saints at Twickenham on Saturday.

"He's a guy who's played over 300 Premiership games, captained England 21 times and he's just retiring from the game so he brings all this modern knowledge of how to win the line-out and general forward play," added Jones.

"He'll really help raise the level of our line-out particularly."

The experienced lock helped coach Japan last year for two Tests against Wales culminating in a 23-8 win in Tokyo - their first ever victory over the principality.

Former Australia and Saracens boss Jones was clearly delighted to team up again with the 34-year-old Borthwick, who spent 10 years with West Country side Bath before leaving to join Saracens in 2008.

"I signed him when I was the Saracens director of rugby," said Jones. "He was the first signing I made and he's helped change the club.

"When I first went to Saracens in 2006 they were in the relegation zone and now they're in the top two clubs in Europe, which is a fantastic achievement and the consistency of all that has been Steve Borthwick as captain."

Borthwick, set to link up with Japan for their June tour of North America, will hope to bow out a winner this weekend after leading Saracens in their 23-6 European Cup final defeat to Toulon in Cardiff last Saturday.

Jones, who is preparing his side to face Samoa in Tokyo this Friday, said: "He's already got a good rapport with the (Japan) players so he's really going to be an advantage to our coaching team."

Japan have appeared in every World Cup to date but have won only one game. They will join South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and the United States in Pool B of the 20-team tournament in England and Wales next year.

AFP

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