Borthwick brings in Quins coach Evans as England eye Six Nations lift-off

By Sports Desk January 06, 2023

England head coach Steve Borthwick has made former All Black Nick Evans his new attack coach ahead of the Six Nations.

With Kevin Sinfield already installed as defence coach, Borthwick believes he has found another ideal candidate to galvanise the Red Rose at the start of a Rugby World Cup year.

Evans will take time out from his coaching duties at Harlequins to join the England set-up.

It is unclear for now what involvement Martin Gleeson will have, having been attack coach under Borthwick's predecessor, Eddie Jones.

Evans, who won 16 caps for New Zealand before signing for Harlequins in 2008, retired from playing in April 2017 but remains an influential figure at the Premiership club.

Borthwick said: "I am delighted that Nick is joining our team ahead of the Six Nations. Nick brings with him a wealth of different experiences as a player and coach, which will be incredibly valuable to the growth of our team. 

"I know that Nick understands the pride and responsibility that comes with representing your country. We aim to build an England team that our nation can be proud of, and I know that our supporters will be very excited by what Nick can bring to our side."

Former Leicester Tigers head coach Borthwick took over from Jones after the Australian was sacked in December, and it remains to be seen whether he may want Evans to stay involved leading up to the World Cup if the Six Nations brings positive results.

Harlequins, who were thanked by Borthwick on Friday, have said Evans will return to them on a full-time basis after the Six Nations.

The appointment of Evans comes during a week that saw Matt Proudfoot's tenure as England forwards coach come to an end.

England launch their Six Nations campaign against Scotland at Twickenham on February 4, having won just two of their five matches in each of the past two championships.

Related items

  • Bowen defends 'incredible' Kane after England criticism Bowen defends 'incredible' Kane after England criticism

    Jarrod Bowen jumped to the defence of Harry Kane, insisting there has been no panic about the England captain's lack of involvement in their opening two games at Euro 2024.

    Although they are top of Group C and unbeaten with four points, the Three Lions have come under scrutiny for their performances so far in Germany.

    An underwhelming 1-0 win over Serbia was followed by a 1-1 draw with Denmark, with Scotland (0.78) the only team to record a lower xG across their first two matches at the tournament (1.85).

    England have attempted only 17 shots, with seven on target while, against the Danes, only 17 per cent of their open-play touches came in the final third as they struggled to progress with the ball.

    Though he was on target in that game, Kane was replaced in the 70th minute having only recorded 22 touches throughout the contest - two fewer than he managed against Serbia.

    The Three Lions skipper is fresh from scoring 44 goals in his debut season with Bayern Munich, but has struggled to build on those performance levels thus far, with his displays drawing widespread criticism.

    But Bowen empathises with the striker, who is only the third man after Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney to score for England at four different major international tournaments.

    "We know Harry's quality, how many goals he's scored. He hit the bar [against Serbia] with an unbelievable save and scored again [against Denmark]," the West Ham winger said.

    "As a captain, as a person, as a leader, he's one that's been at the highest level for many years, scored so many goals. So, he's been incredible on the pitch, but also off the pitch, as well as a leader and a person. I can't say how good he is highly enough.

    "I don't think there's been panic about [his lack of touches or involvement in games]. Of course, he might want to be involved more than he is involved. But, like I said, he got his goal the other night.

    "He could be sat here with two goals after two group games. As a striker, sometimes you're not involved in the game as much as you want to be. I think that's probably just the life of a striker, and then you can score a goal.

    "I'm sure Harry wants to keep scoring as many goals as possible in this tournament. I know he loves his goals, takes real pride in it. So for him, it's difficult for me to answer because I'm not sure what he wants in terms of having more touches in the games.

    "Sometimes, you're up front against three centre-halves, two centre-halves, whatever the formation maybe, but when the opportunity comes, we know we can score goals, and he's shown that."

  • Southgate admits England falling short, bemoans midfield options after Denmark draw Southgate admits England falling short, bemoans midfield options after Denmark draw

    Gareth Southgate admits England have fallen short of expectations thus far at Euro 2024, bemoaning their failure to find a replacement for Kalvin Phillips in midfield.

    Having opened their Group C campaign with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Serbia last week, England failed to clinch top spot with a game to spare as they were pegged back in a 1-1 draw with Denmark on Thursday.

    Harry Kane put the Three Lions ahead after 18 minutes, but they soon fell into old habits and sat deeper against a lively Denmark side, who levelled through Morten Hjulmand's ferocious 25-yard strike.

    While England remain on course to top Group C, sitting two points clear of Denmark and Slovenia, who they face on matchday three, their performance put Southgate under more scrutiny.

    England have attempted just 17 shots – seven of them on target – in their two games at Euro 2024, amassing a total of 1.85 expected goals (xG).

    Scotland are the only team to have played two matches and created a lower xG total, amassing just 0.78 in their 5-1 defeat to Germany and a 1-1 draw with Switzerland.

    Speaking at his post-match press conference, Southgate said: "Clearly, we're disappointed with the level of the two performances we've had, so we've got to go and analyse that in depth and find solutions to addressing the issues we have.

    "We know the level can be higher. Maybe the biggest thing is we have to accept the environment that we're in and the expectations that are around us. At the moment, we're falling a little bit short of that.

    "Ultimately, that's my responsibility. I'm the manager, and I've got to guide this group in the best way possible to achieve extraordinary things."

    Trent Alexander-Arnold came in for particular criticism after retaining his place in midfield, despite no England player bettering his three chances created or five line-breaking passes, even as he was substituted after just 54 minutes.

    In their 2-1 extra-time win over Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-finals, England recorded 31 per cent of their open-play touches in the final third.

    That figure was down to 17 per cent on Thursday as they struggled to progress the ball, with 34 per cent of their touches coming in their own third.

    Southgate believes the absence of Phillips – who was omitted from the squad after failing to nail down a starting spot with either Manchester City or loan club West Ham – has been a difficult problem to solve.

    Asked about Alexander-Arnold's display, Southgate told BBC Sport: "He has had some moments where he has delivered as we thought. 

    "It’s an experiment. We don't have a natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips. At the moment we're not flowing as we would like.

    "At the moment we're not using the ball well enough and have to accept if you do that you will suffer at times, as we have. We know there's another level we have to find."

  • Tadic tips 'hungry' Bellingham to 'win next Ballon d'Or' Tadic tips 'hungry' Bellingham to 'win next Ballon d'Or'

    Jude Bellingham "has everything to win the next Ballon d'Or", Serbia skipper Dusan Tadic insisted after his side fell victim to England's star midfielder.

    Bellingham was the hero with his first-half header ensuring Gareth Southgate's side got off to a winning start at Euro 2024, as they edged out the Eagles 1-0 in Gelsenkirchen.

    The Real Madrid midfielder built on the momentum from his memorable debut season with Los Blancos, for whom he scored 23 goals and helped win LaLiga and the Champions League.

    The second player after Michael Owen to score at the World Cup and European Championship before turning 21, he is also the first to do so for the Three Lions while playing his club football outside of England.

    And Tadic, who appeared as a second-half substitute in Serbia's first match at the European Championship as a unified nation, paid tribute to the 20-year-old.

    When asked whether he thought Bellingham was the difference in the Group C contest, the Eagles skipper told reporters: "Yes, definitely. I think he is a great player and a great personality. I think he has everything to win the next Ballon d'Or.

    "I think everything that he did was great today, he showed personality, he took England to the next level. He was always asking for the ball and I think he had a great game.

    "What I think is most important for such a young player is that he always takes responsibility. That is amazing to see, and you can see he is very hungry."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.