Sun 26 Feb 2023 | 08:31

Borthwick praises England's tactical nous in 'incredible Test match'

Borthwick praises England's tactical nous in 'incredible Test match'
Sun 26 Feb 2023 | 08:31
Borthwick praises England's tactical nous in 'incredible Test match'

REACTION: England coach Steve Borthwick praised his side for their tactical nous and ability to take control of the last quarter of a tight Six Nations 20-10 victory over Wales on Saturday.


“The players showed great resilience, great spirit,” said Borthwick. “They changed things tactically in the game.

“It was an incredible Test match. There wasn’t much in it really,” he added, describing it as an “arm wrestle” and the Six Nations as an “incredible tournament”.

“This is a tough time for rugby in so many different ways right now and what those Welsh players have been through in the last couple of weeks, to produce a performance like that, they deserve incredible respect for it.”

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Skipper Owen Farrell had an uncharacteristically off day with the boot, missing three kicks that would realistically have given England some much-needed breathing space earlier in the game after an early try by Anthony Watson.

As it was a Louis Rees-Zammit interception try just minutes into the second half that handed Wales an unexpected lead.


England responded almost immediately through Kyle Sinckler before Ollie Lawrence crossed for a third try to wrap things up late on.

“Wales took this game into a kicking contest… and what they [England] did so well was to adapt to that and try and find a way to win in that pressure battle,” Borthwick said.

“That tells me a lot about our players, how intelligent they are, how composed they are on the pitch.

“As we’re in this process, we need to keep these players growing. Now we’ve got to push on.


“There were bits in that performance that we can really push on with. We’ve got two big games to finish the Championship. For now we’re going to make sure we enjoy that win.”

England kicked off their Six Nations campaign with a 23-29 defeat by Scotland before rebounding to beat Italy 31-14.

They next host defending champions France before wrapping up against in-form Ireland.

“It was a good Test for us and we took control in that last 20 I thought,” said Farrell.

“We’re right at the start. We’ve got another big team coming next time back at Twickenham and we’ve got a lot of work to do.

“There are bits starting to show but we’re laying some foundations at the minute. We want to keep building on it all.”

Man-of-the match was England fullback Freddie Steward, who was imperious in handling the Welsh aerial assault.

Tellingly, he had been among the crowd when England last won in Cardiff six years ago.

“We had a stadium run yesterday and I looked over at that corner where I sat as a 16-year-old watching. To be involved in it is special,” Steward said.

“You always aim to be the best in the world. It’s setting myself those stepping stones to try and get there.”

PV: 14