Bristol slam brakes on Borthwick move

Eddie Jones’s first appointment at the helm of the England rugby side has provoked an angry reaction from a local club.

Bristol rugby club bristled on Tuesday at news their forwards coach Steve Borthwick had agreed to join the England set-up as the Australian’s assistant.

Just an hour after a Rugby Football Union statement trumpeted Borthwick’s appointment, the west country club drew a line in the sand with its own terse comment.

“Bristol Rugby want to make it clear that we have not agreed that Steve Borthwick can leave our employment,” the club said.

“Steve Borthwick is subject to a recently signed long term employment contract. Bristol Rugby did not give the RFU permission to speak with Steve Borthwick.”

Bristol said they would take “all reasonable actions as necessary to protect the club’s position” and would not be making any further statement.

Borthwick signed for Bristol in October after coaching the Japanese national team with Jones.

The two men worked together for three years, culminating in the team’s impressive World Cup display this year.

“I have known Steve for a long time and he has done fantastic work as a coach,” Jones said in a statement announcing the appointment.

“His coaching in Japan in recent years shows he can get the best out of the players at the highest level.”

Borthwick, who won 57 England caps between 2001 and 2010, said it was honour to join the coaching staff.

“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.”

Borthwick is expected to be joined on the staff by defence coach Paul Gustard, another Saracens link, while Northampton backs coach Alex King is also in the frame.

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