Steve Borthwick is to take over as head coach of Leicester Tigers with Geordan Murphy appointed as director of rugby.

Murphy was appointed as full-time coach in December 2018 after an interim stint but the Tigers have struggled badly this season and are second bottom of the Premiership table with just two wins from 11 matches.

The Tigers have consequently opted for a reshuffle which will see Borthwick move to Welford Road at the end of his commitment to England.

Borthwick was forwards coach for an England side who reached the Rugby World Cup final and is working as skills coach under Eddie Jones for the upcoming Six Nations.

"The last four-and-a-half years working with the England team has been an incredible journey. I have worked with some brilliant players and staff," Borthwick told Leicester's official website. 

"In particular I would like thank Eddie Jones. To have worked with one of the greatest head coaches in the world for so long has been an unbelievable experience.

"I am delighted to be joining Leicester Tigers as head coach. The Tigers have such a long and successful history and are one of the greatest rugby clubs in the game. 

"Welford Road, with the special atmosphere created by the club's incredible supporters roaring their team forward, is a very special place to be.

"We must now work to build upon that great history and create our future to get this club to the top of European rugby. It is a brilliant challenge and I am excited to start working with the players and everybody associated with the team.

"Geordan provides a link with the club's greatest teams and we will be working together to ensure that there are many successful days ahead for this club, and for our supporters to enjoy."

Murphy enjoyed a legendary playing with the Tigers, winning eight Premiership titles and back-to-back Heineken Cups and the Irishman welcomed the addition of Borthwick.

"The players and staff have all been working incredibly hard to get the club back on a pathway to where we all want to be, at the top of the professional game," Murphy said.

"We have been building a lot of the foundations around recruitment and retention of the playing squad and the success of our academy structure, and we look forward to Steve's arrival to drive the playing squad onwards.

"Steve is a world-class coach with the skills and determination to get the best out of everyone around him."

Eddie Jones will encourage his players to voice their grievances over the Saracens salary-cap scandal when the England squad assembles before the Six Nations.

Rugby World Cup finalists England are due to begin a seven-day training camp in Portugal on Thursday ahead of their clash with France on February 2.

Jones confirmed he would hold clear-the-air talks in a bid to root out any tension stemming from the Sarries' salary-cap breaches, which resulted in a £5.36million fine and relegation from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje were among seven Sarries stars named in a 34-man England squad on Monday.

"We have got to get everything out on the table," Jones told reporters. "It's common sense. Say what you feel.

"If players are angry about it then say it. At the end of the day, there are 34 players that all want to play for England. Their job is to get ready to play for England.

"We will help them sort it out. I don't envisage any problems at all, in fact I think it is an opportunity for the team to get tighter. They wouldn't be in the squad if they weren't in the right mindset."

Jones admitted the meeting might not reach an easy resolution as England seek to move forward in the aftermath of their World Cup heartbreak against South Africa.

"We are not robots," he said. "You don't know how long it is going to take. It could take longer, but we will sort it out.

"We have got players from potentially 12 different clubs - 12 different ideas of what is right and what is wrong.

"We are like a family around the dinner table, someone wants to have pasta for dinner and the other one wants to have rice. They have a debate and that is ongoing in the national team."

Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey has been called up to Ireland's squad for the Six Nations.

Initially omitted from Andy Farrell's 35-man panel, McCloskey was added to the group ahead of a training camp in Portugal.

His inclusion comes after Chris Farrell missed Munster's Champions Cup win over Ospreys, the centre ruled out because of a knee injury.

"Stu has been playing well over the past few weeks," Andy Farrell said.

"Centre is a very competitive area in the squad and with a few backs picking up small niggles at the weekend, Stu is the form back who will now be added to the group to give us some extra options."

Jack Nowell missed out on a place in England's Six Nations squad as he is set to undergo ankle surgery.

Eddie Jones on Monday named eight uncapped players in a 34-man squad that did not include versatile Exeter Chiefs back Nowell.

Exeter revealed via Twitter the 26-year-old, like team-mate Henry Slade, was not deemed fit enough to feature in the tournament despite playing in the European Champions Cup victory over La Rochelle on Saturday.

Nowell recovered from an ankle operation to play in the Rugby World Cup last year, but the Chiefs confirmed he will go under the knife again.

Centre Slade is recovering from a broken leg sustained against Leicester Tigers in December.

Jack Nowell has not been included in the England Six Nations squad, with Eddie Jones calling up eight uncapped players.

Dan Cole and Ben Spencer also missed out on Jones' 34-man squad for the tournament, which England begin with an away clash against France on February 2.

The omission of versatile back Nowell was the biggest surprise of the 10 players from England's Rugby World Cup squad who are not selected, many of whom are injured - including Billy Vunipola (broken arm).

Capped 34 times by his country, the 26-year-old has played regularly for Exeter Chiefs despite struggling with his recovery from an ankle injury suffered prior to the World Cup and reports suggest he will now undergo a second operation.

Alex Moon, Fraser Dingwall and Jacob Umaga earn call-ups for the first time, along with George Furbank and Will Stuart.

Tom Dunn, Ben Earl and Ollie Thorley have been in previous squads and have another chance to make their England debuts.

Alex Mitchell and Josh Hodge are called up as apprentice players.

Seven Saracens players earned a selection after the news the European champions will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of the season.

The squad will meet at Pennyhill Park on Wednesday to begin their Six Nations preparation, before flying to Portugal a day later.

Jones said: "It is always about winning the next game so we have picked the best squad available. 

"At the same time we wanted to bring some young players in because we need to keep building our depth so for those new players it is an exciting opportunity for them.

"The first three days will be about getting organised. We have got players from 11 clubs so we need to get everyone on the same page quickly and spend a lot of time working on our togetherness.

"Then by Tuesday next week we are in Test preparation for France."
 

England squad: 

Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Tom Dunn, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Ted Hill, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, Alex Moon, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Mako Vunipola, Harry Williams.

Backs: Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Fraser Dingwall, Owen Farrell (captain), George Ford, George Furbank, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Ollie Thorley, Manu Tuilagi, Jacob Umaga, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.

Billy Vunipola looks set to miss the entire Six Nations after Saracens confirmed the England number eight suffered a broken arm in their European Champions Cup victory over Racing 92.

Vunipola was hurt in the early stages of Sunday's contest at Allianz Park, with fears he had suffered a fracture that would lead to a lengthy lay-off.

In a statement on Monday, Saracens confirmed the 27-year-old had broken his arm for the fourth time in the last two years.

Although the European champions did not put a timescale on his recovery, it appears certain Vunipola will miss the Six Nations, which runs from February 1 to March 14.

Saracens' statement read: "Billy Vunipola has suffered a broken arm.

"He will see a consultant over the coming days to determine the full extent of the injury before undergoing rehabilitation."

The news also represents a significant blow to Sarries, who have endured a nightmare week with confirmation of their impending relegation from the Premiership due to salary cap breaches.

With the club set to play in the second tier of English rugby in 2020-21, the futures of their England internationals, including Vunipola, have come under scrutiny.

Billy Vunipola is a major doubt for England's Six Nations campaign after sustaining a suspected broken arm on Sunday.

The number eight went off in the sixth minute of Saracens' 27-24 victory over Racing 92, a result that proved sufficient to ensure the week in which it was confirmed they would be demoted from the Premiership after breaching salary cap rules ended with progression to the European Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Vunipola has previously broken his right arm twice and his left arm once in the past two years and looks set to miss out on a place in Eddie Jones' Six Nations squad, which is set to be announced on Monday.

"They suspect a broken arm," said Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall. "I hope it's not. I don't think it's been confirmed yet."

The 27-year-old featured in every England game as they finished as 2019 Rugby World Cup runners-up to South Africa.

England begin their Six Nations campaign away to France on February 2.

Saracens will face Leinster in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals - a repeat of last season's final - after the scandal-hit London club finally found something to smile about.

Breaches of Premiership Rugby's salary cap have seen Saracens hit with a severe punishment, with the club told on Saturday they will be demoted from the top tier of English rugby at the end of the season.

Their domestic achievements and their dominance of the Champions Cup, which they have won in three of the past four seasons, have come in for fresh scrutiny since it emerged Saracens had broken the rules.

Director of rugby Mark McCall told his players to set the off-pitch problems aside on Sunday, and a dramatic 27-24 win over Racing 92 proved enough for Saracens to book a last-eight place after Gloucester lost 35-14 to Toulouse later in the day.

Owen Farrell booted a match-winning late penalty for 14-man Saracens, who had Will Skelton sent off in the first half and lost Billy Vunipola to an arm injury.

Two tries from Maro Itoje and one from Mako Vunipola were countered by Racing, whose five-pointers came from Virimi Vakatawa, who dotted down twice, and Louis Dupichot.

Saracens led 17-7 at one stage but were 21-17 behind at the break, turning the game around with Itoje's second try before England captain Farrell nailed a 75th-minute penalty.

At the final whistle, Saracens were not sure of their place in the quarter-finals, with a two-hour wait until that was confirmed.

Racing beat them to top spot in Pool 4, and to grab one of the three last-eight places allocated to the best runners-up Saracens needed Gloucester to fall short against Toulouse.

The Cherry and Whites were well beaten in France, going down by five converted tries to two at Stade Ernest-Wallon, with Romain Ntamack running in two of the Top 14 side's scores.

It means Saracens face another appointment with Leinster, the team they beat 20-10 at St James' Park last May to be crowned European champions.

This time Saracens must travel to Dublin to tackle the 2018 Champions Cup winners.

During Leinster's run to European glory two years ago, Saracens lost away to the Irish outfit in the quarter-finals.

Sunday's other matches involved teams whose run in this competition is over for another year, with Munster beating Ospreys 33-6 and Montpellier grabbing a thrilling 35-29 success against Connacht.

 

Quarter-final line-up (ties to be played on April 3-5):

Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92
Toulouse v Ulster
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints
Leinster v Saracens

Mark McCall has made it clear he intends to remain with Saracens following their relegation, but the director of rugby acknowledges the future of his club's biggest stars may be influenced by England head coach Eddie Jones.

A Premiership Rugby statement on Saturday confirmed Sarries will be demoted from the top flight at the end of the 2019-20 season, following multiple breaches of the competition's salary cap.

Six members of the England team that started last year's World Cup final play for European champions, including captain Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Mako and Billy Vunipola, with significant uncertainty now surrounding their futures.

The London club will not be eligible to play in next term's Champions Cup once they are in the second tier of English rugby, meaning the likes of Farrell and Itoje face a year away from elite club competitions should they stay put.

In an interview with BT Sport ahead of his team's crunch clash with Racing 92 on Sunday, McCall said: "Obviously the news has just come in the last 48 hours, so there's a lot of thinking for us to do and a lot of decisions to make.

"And every player's situation is slightly different - what happens to our established internationals? What does Eddie Jones want to happen to our established internationals, et cetera. et cetera.

"But those decisions and those conversations I think are for another day. Today we just try and get on with the rugby."

Asked about his own future, McCall added: "The one thing now, it feels like there's a line drawn in the sand. We have some real clarity around the future and we can plan for that future and I really want to be part of that.

"I don't think this is the best time to be pointing fingers or trying to apportion blame. This is a time for unity and togetherness. We've got this remarkable playing group who over the last 10 weeks have shown, I think, an incredible amount of resilience given all of the stuff that's been going on off the field."

Saracens have promised to "come back stronger" after the European champions were relegated in disgrace from the Premiership.

The club who won English top flight and European Champions Cup top honours last season will spend next term in the second-tier Championship, after years of salary cap breaches finally caught up with them.

Saracens were docked 35 points and fined £5.36million in November for breaches over each of the past three seasons.

And on Saturday, a second swingeing punishment was announced when Premiership Rugby (PRL), the league's governing body, announced Saracens would be automatically demoted at the end of the current campaign.

The star-studded Saracens squad looks destined to break up, given the unappealing prospect of at least a year in the Championship and no European rugby.

Years of success have come at a high price, and now Saracens have no option but to swallow a bitter pill.

Saracens said in a statement on Sunday: "The board of Saracens wishes to unreservedly apologise for the mistakes made in relation to the salary cap regulations. Our goal is to rebuild confidence and trust."

Former England fly-half Andy Goode claimed on Twitter that the Premiership Rugby ruling against Saracens meant "justice has been served and now we know they have cheated beyond belief".

The club's name will be blackened for many, and their successes - including three Champions Cup wins in the last four years - will be widely considered as tarnished.

The Saracens statement continued: "Following open and frank discussions with PRL, we have accepted the unprecedented measure of automatic relegation from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-2020 season.

"We understand this decision will be difficult for the Saracens family to accept. The board must embody the values of the club, learn from its mistakes so the club can come back stronger.

"It is in the wider interests of the Premiership and English rugby to take this decisive step, to ensure everybody is able once again to focus on the game of rugby, which we all love.

"We hope that we can now start to move forward, begin to restore confidence and over time, rebuild trust with PRL, its stakeholders and the wider rugby community."

The London club are bottom of the Premiership table on minus seven points but have the joint-best record in the division with six wins in eight matches this term.

Six Saracens players started for England in their World Cup final loss to South Africa in November, including national team captain Owen Farrell.

He and international colleagues Elliot Daly, Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Mako and Billy Vunipola may be among those considering their future with the club.

Premiership Rugby recently launched an independent review into the salary cap as a result of the Saracens saga, which will be led by former Treasury minister Lord Myners.

Saracens are facing up to a potential player exodus after the worst-kept secret in the Premiership was confirmed with the announcement the London club are to be relegated for breaching salary-cap regulations.

The London club were docked 35 points and fined £5.36million in November for flouting the rules in each of the past three seasons, and currently sit bottom of the Premiership.

However, after talks between Premiership Rugby and Saracens in the aftermath of the initial punishment, the club will now drop down to the Championship for 2020-21.

It throws up huge doubts over the future of some of the Premiership's biggest names, who have all tasted success with Saracens over the club's recent period of dominance – including a domestic and European double last term.

Six Saracens players started in England's Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa - including captain Owen Farrell - while Vincent Koch featured for the Springboks in that match.

Meanwhile, Liam Williams, a regular for Wales in the tournament, has already started the departures, having agreed to rejoin Scarlets at the end of the season.

Following the news of Saracens' impending relegation to the second tier, we take a look at the star names who seem destined to become available.

Owen Farrell

Sure to be in demand is England skipper Farrell has spent his entire senior career with Saracens, having made his debut aged 17 in 2008, becoming - at the time - the youngest player to appear in an English professional rugby union match. He has gone on to become one of the world's best players, winning the Six Nations twice with England as well as five Premiership titles and three Champions Cups with Saracens.

Maro Itoje

Having won four Premierships and three European Champions Cups at club level by the age of 25, Maro Itoje is expected to be a man in demand. The British and Irish Lion, who plays lock or blindside flanker, should still have his best years ahead of him but is already an established international player, having won two Six Nations trophies and helped England to the World Cup final last year as part of his 34 caps. He has spent his whole professional career at Saracens.

Mako Vunipola

The elder Vunipola brother joined up with Saracens from Bristol in 2011 and has made 110 appearances, scoring 15 tries. He made his England debut in 2012 against Fiji and has been a key player for club and country ever since. 

Billy Vunipola

Two years after his sibling had signed for Saracens, Billy Vunipola followed suit. He has played in 71 Premiership matches for Sarries, with 15 tries to his name and has featured in just 11 defeats. Internationally, he has made 51 Test appearances for England.

Elliot Daly

The versatile back - who has featured in 42 Tests for England - only joined Saracens from Wasps in 2019 ahead of the current Premiership season. He has scored 13 tries for England and one in four Premiership appearances so far for Saracens.

Jamie George

Like Farrell, George came through the ranks at Saracens and made his first-team debut just a year after the England captain. He has made over 150 Premiership appearances for the club, starting 83 times and accumulating 125 points from 25 tries. At 29, it seems unlikely the hooker will be wishing to drop into the Championship.

Vincent Koch

Signed in 2016, Koch has scored three top-flight tries during his time with Saracens, making 48 Premiership appearances in total. The prop did not start for South Africa in November's World Cup showdown in Japan, though came on early in the second half to help the Springboks to a 32-12 victory.

Will Skelton

Former Australia lock Skelton was linked with a move back to the southern hemisphere last year before signing a new deal. He has scored three tries for Saracens since joining, and made 18 Test appearances for the Wallabies between 2014 and 2016.

Ulster secured a European Champions Cup quarter-final spot with a 22-15 defeat of Bath, while Northampton Saints and Glasgow Warriors stayed in the hunt for qualification on Saturday.

Clermont Auvergne sealed top spot in Pool 3 with a 26-19 victory at Harlequins, but Ulster knew a defeat of Bath would see them through as one of three best-placed runners-up.

The Pro14 side got the job done in the second half after the two sides were level at 7-7 at the break, Robert Baloucoune and Will Addison going over to add to a first-half try from Marcell Coetzee before Billy Burns was on target with a penalty.

Tries from Ruaridh McConnochie and Ross Batty, who was later red-carded for a no-arms tackle on John Cooney, were not enough for Bath to end the competition on a high note.

Northampton did all they could to advance as runners-up with a 36-24 victory at Top 14 high-flyers Lyon in Pool 1.

The Saints will go progress if either Saracens or Gloucester fail to pick up maximum points wins on Sunday after Mike Haywood, Teimana Harrison, Cobus Reinach, George Furbank and James Fish touched down in a bonus-point triumph at Matmut Stade de Gerland.

Glasgow must hope defending champions Sarries, whose relegation from the Premiership at the of the season for persistent salary-cap breaches was announced on Saturday, and Gloucester slip up after demolishing Sale Sharks 45-7 in Pool 2.

Leone Nakarawa set the tone early on with one of six Glasgow tries at the AJ Bell Stadium, where Adam Hastings scored 15 points from the tee.

Leinster made it six victories out of six in Pool 1 with an 18-0 defeat of Benetton Treviso, while Sam Simmonds grabbed a double as Pool 2 winners Exeter Chiefs saw off La Rochelle 33-14 at Sandy Park.

Beleaguered Sarries host Racing 92 on the final day of pool matches reeling from the announcement that they will drop of out of the Premiership, while Gloucester travel to Toulouse.

Defending champions Saracens will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-20 season, Premiership Rugby has confirmed.

Sarries, who won the English top flight and the European Champions Cup last season, were docked 35 points and fined £5.36million in November for breaching salary cap regulations in each of the past three seasons.

The London club are bottom of the Premiership table on minus seven points but have the joint-best record in the division with six wins in eight matches this term.

However, after talks between the governing body and Saracens in the aftermath of the latter's initial punishment, it has been decided they will drop down to the Championship for next term.

Recently appointed Saracens chairman Neil Golding said: "I acknowledge the club has made errors in the past and we unreservedly apologise for those mistakes.

"I and the rest of the board are committed to overseeing stringent new governance measures to ensure regulatory compliance going forward."

Premiership Rugby has launched an independent review into the salary cap as a result of the Saracens saga, which will be led by former Treasury minister Lord Myners.

Chief executive Darren Childs said: "Premiership Rugby is prepared to take strong action to enforce the regulations governing fair competition between our clubs.

"At the conclusion of dialogue with Saracens about their compliance with the salary cap regulations, it has been decided that Saracens will be relegated at the end of this season."

Childs added: "The actions that we have taken – dealing with breaches of the current regulations and reviewing the system for the future – will help us to build a stronger league and uphold the confidence of supporters."

Six Saracens players started for England in their World Cup final loss to South Africa in November, including captain Owen Farrell, but a star-studded line-up now looks certain to be broken up.

On Sunday, Sarries face Racing 92 in the Champions Cup, where victory will virtually secure progress to the knockout stages.

Farrell is joined in the starting XV by England colleagues Elliot Daly, Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Mako and Billy Vunipola, and a run in this season's tournament is likely to be a last hurrah for this collective.

Even if they win Europe's top competition for the fourth time in their last five attempts, Saracens' Championship status will mean they are barred from entering next year.

Defending champions Saracens will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-20 season, Premiership Rugby has confirmed.

Wales centre Jamie Roberts has left Bath to sign with South African Super Rugby franchise the Stormers.

British and Irish Lion Roberts, who joined Bath from Harlequins in 2018, moves to Cape Town with immediate effect after the Stormers received the financial support of a corporate partner.

The 33-year-old earned the last of his 94 Wales caps in November 2017 and will also act as a mentor for his new team.

"It has long been a goal of mine to play in the Southern Hemisphere and I cannot think of a better place to do so than in the Western Cape, where people are so passionate about their rugby and also staying in Cape Town which is such an amazing city," said Roberts.

"While I am looking forward to wearing the shirt, my key drive is to perform on the pitch, win week in week out and to help to drive success.

"Having toured South Africa with my school, sevens, club and Wales, then playing in the 2009 British and Irish Lions series as a young player which was a highlight in my career, to spend some time down here and contribute to the fantastic rugby culture will be a special privilege.

"Every time I have been to South Africa, it has always struck me as a beautiful country with rugby at its heart, which reminds me very much of home. It feels very special to be able to come and play rugby in South Africa.

"While I am looking forward to pulling the Stormers jersey on, this will also be a fantastic opportunity for me to help impart some knowledge and insight on the many talented youngsters that we have here."

The Stormers finished bottom of the South Africa Conference last season and begin their 2020 campaign at home to the Hurricanes on February 1.

Bath have replaced Roberts by signing Fiji international and utility back Josh Matavesi from Newcastle Falcons.

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