Leicester boss Steve Borthwick has insisted that Ben Youngs, Jack van Poortvliet and Freddie Steward haven’t been broken by England’s debilitating Autumn Nations Sequence outcomes and are prepared to assist the membership’s Gallagher Premiership title defence and Heineken Champions Cup problem.
With England successful simply one among their 4 autumn exams, the fallout from the disappointing marketing campaign has put head coach Eddie Jones within the firing line however Leicester coach Borthwick isn’t involved in regards to the psychological state of his trio of gamers, Youngs, van Poortvliet and Steward.
Veteran scrum-half Youngs, 33, misplaced his beginning place and was diminished to walk-on cameo appearances whereas the 21-year-old van Poortvliet struggled with the beginning No9 duties instead of Youngs. Solely Steward, one other 21-year-old, enhanced his England standing which earned him the full-back place in a World Rugby XV chosen on this yr’s performances – though he additionally needed to cope with quite a few uncharacteristic errors in final Saturday’s defeat to South Africa.
Having gained considerable experience as an England international player and an assistant Test-level coach with Japan and England, Borthwick is acutely aware of the need to check the mental and physical state of players such as Steward once they return to Leicester from Test duty.
He said: “I get to work with an incredible group of players here at Leicester and they have come back from international rugby and are desperate to get out onto the pitch. We will take it on an individual basis because they have played a different number of minutes. They get a full medical and strength and conditioning assessment.
“You have to do what is right for each player and I chat to all the players about their experiences, how they are physically and emotionally, and I find that they are desperate to play. They love playing and want to be on the field. International rugby exposes them to the pace of the game that is another level to club rugby and they improve as players.
“They want to put the lessons they learn onto the field as soon as possible. Like the rest of the players, Freddie wants to get better that is one of the challenges I love as a coach. Freddie’s character is to constantly search for another edge and that is remarkable.
“Every single one of our international players – we have had lots with different countries – are raring to get back in and back onto the pitch which is terrific. There are always challenges for players to come from different international systems and then play in the structure we will want, different calls and languages. However, their attitude has been first-class.
“Having been a player in that position and also a coach with international teams, you understand the demands on the players. There have been a lot of challenges in the last two years at Leicester and every one of the players has been incredible with their attitude to covid, cancelled games plus players being injured. The attitude has been, ‘It’s not perfect so let’s just get on with it’. That’s a great testament to the team.”
Leicester next travel to Bristol for an 8pm Saturday kick-off having held on for a 33-31 home win over London Irish on Sunday. Borthwick is confident Bristol will pose a serious threat despite their lowly position in the league and the meeting with ex-Tigers skipper Ellis Genge will add an extra edge to the contest.
“We have incredible respect for Ellis Genge and I know he has enormous respect for us. He is part of the history of the club, a famous part. Ellis is passionate and caring and wants to do well and that is the type of person he is. We gave Irish a lot of opportunities around penalties we shouldn’t concede.”