Six Nations 2024: Steve Borthwick says England need a ‘different mindset’ in the competition

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England need to approach the Six Nations with a “different mindset” to improve their results, says head coach Steve Borthwick.

Six Nations 2024: Steve Borthwick says England need a 'different mindset' in the competition
Six Nations 2024: Steve Borthwick says England need a ‘different mindset’ in the competition

England, who finished fourth last campaign, have not won the tournament since 2020.

However, Borthwick’s side came third in the World Cup, only losing to South Africa by a point in the semi-finals.

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

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

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

The World Cup semi-finalists have been slow starters in recent campaigns having not won their opening Six Nations fixture since victory over Ireland in 2019.

England suffered a 29-23 defeat by Scotland at Twickenham last year, which was their third loss in a row against Gregor Townsend’s side in the opening fixture.

Their opener in next month’s Six Nations is away against Italy on 3 February.

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

“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.”

England host Wales on 10 February in their second fixture, before a trip to Murrayfield follows on 24 February.

They then play Ireland at Twickenham on 9 March and finally travel to France on 16 March on the final weekend of the competition.

This means Borthwick’s side avoid playing the Grand Slam champions Ireland and last season’s runners-up France until the final two weekends.

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

‘I’m hopeful that we’ve learned a lot of lessons from the Farrell situation’

Hooker Jamie George was named England captain for the Six Nations in the absence of Saracens team-mate Owen Farrell.

Farrell – who will leave Saracens to join Racing 92 in July, it was confirmed on Monday – has captained England since 2019 but ruled himself out of the tournament to prioritise his and his family’s mental wellbeing.

The fly-half, 32, missed his side’s opening two World Cup games against Argentina and Japan after having his red card, which was initially overturned, reinstated – a process which his father, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, called “absolutely disgusting”.

The England hooker, who described himself as a “close friend” to Farrell, hopes “lessons” can be learned from the way he was treated.

“When you’re given the weekend to go and think about things, the obvious thing to do is to go and look at both sides of the coin,” George said.

“And for me, there are so many positives that come with this. This is the greatest achievement of my life. Stepping out on the field in Rome is going to be one of the best moments that I will ever experience.

“And I felt like it was a decision that if I had turned down for other reasons I would have absolutely regretted because I’m at a good stage of my career to step up and take this on.

“I have a good understanding of what might be out there to come, but at the same time I’m also hopeful that we’ve learned a lot of lessons from the Owen situation.”

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