Doubts over England futures of Richard Wigglesworth and Kevin Sinfield

Steve Borthwick’s coaching reshuffle sparks doubts over England futures of Richard Wigglesworth and Kevin Sinfield… with Felix Jones set to join in January after helping South Africa win the World Cup 

  • Head coach Steve Borthwick is plotting the path ahead for England
  • Coach Felix Jones set to be integrated into the England set-up in January 
  • Richard Wigglesworth could return to Leicester if Australia tempt Dan McKellar

England’s imminent coaching reshuffle is leading to uncertainty and potential upheaval, as Steve Borthwick sets about putting plans in place for the next four-year World Cup cycle.

With the dust now settled on the 2023 campaign in France which culminated in an honourable third-place finish, head coach Borthwick is plotting the path ahead for the national team, amid rumours of tension behind the scenes. 

With Irishman Felix Jones set to be integrated into the Red Rose set-up in January, there is a possibility that not one but two current assistants may be moving on.

Mail Sport has heard from well-placed sources that Leicester are privately concerned that new head coach Dan McKellar may yet be coaxed back to Australia to take charge of the Wallabies, in place of Eddie Jones, who quit his post earlier this month. 

That would reopen a vacancy at the Tigers and it is understood that Richard Wigglesworth may be tempted to go back to Welford Road, having acted as England’s attack coach at the recent World Cup and preceding summer camp.

England boss Steve Borthwick is putting plans in place for next four-year World Cup cycle

Richard Wigglesworth (above) was England’s attack coach at the recent World Cup

The impending arrival of Felix Jones – fresh from his second global success with the Springboks – is thought to be causing confusion and doubt about demarcation lines between coaches, as his role has not been defined. 

The former Munster full-back had a broad remit with South Africa and after their triumph in Paris, Wille le Roux said: ‘He helps us with our attack, our strike moves, the backs… I think the Springboks are really going to miss him.’

It had been widely assumed that Jones would replace Kevin Sinfield as defence guru, but his attack credentials are understood to have left Wigglesworth unsure of whether the scope of his job could be altered. 

One source claimed that the ex-Sale, Saracens and Leicester scrum-half had argued that anyone would struggle to set up an effective attack within the parameters of Borthwick’s rigid system.

Sinfield is expected to leave soon, but may continue with England through the next Six Nations, which will act as a transition phase. It is understood that Borthwick held talks with him after the World Cup semi-final and demanded assurances about his commitment for the next four years, but such a long-term arrangement is unlikely. 

Sinfield may return to league, but speculation that he may work with Sam Burgess at Warrington is believed to be wide of the mark.

After England won their World Cup bronze final, Borthwick spoke about letting his staff have a well-earned couple of weeks off, before conducting a management debrief. 

That process will take place before the head coach reports to the RFU hierarchy, as part of a formal review which will involve an anonymous panel of rugby experts brought in by the union on a consultancy basis.

South African officials have confirmed that the Webb Ellis Cup won by the Springboks remains locked in a safe after burglars broke into their headquarters in a Cape Town suburb on Monday. 

Footage showed two men picking up a replica of the trophy before leaving it to steal whisky, Springbok shirts and laptops – but the room containing the coveted prize was not broken into.

Gloucester’s former England wing, Jonny May – who retired from Test rugby at the end of the World Cup – has been banned for three games for a dangerous tackle in his club’s defeat against Bath at Kingsholm last Friday night. 

The 33-year-old will have his suspension reduced to two matches if he completes the Coaching Intervention Programme; mostly referred to as ‘tackle school’.

Source: Read Full Article