England will be better for the experience of Italy's ruckless tactics, says Steve Borthwick

Italy's ploy challenged England, but the forwards coach believes Eddie Jones' men will be stronger for it

Steve Borthwick described Italy's controversial tactics as a 'good learning experience' for England
Steve Borthwick described Italy's controversial tactics as a 'good learning experience' for England

Forwards coach Steve Borthwick insists England will be a better team for the experience of facing Italy's controversial tactics at Twickenham on Sunday.

The RBS 6 Nations champions posted a bonus-point 36-15 victory that keeps their Grand Slam defence intact, but they have been criticised for struggling to adapt to the Azzurri's strategy of not engaging in rucks.

The ploy prevented any offside line from being formed and meant Italy could disrupt play by swarming around the edges of the tackle.

Jones has called for the breakdown laws to be revised, prompting World Rugby to consider whether to undertake a review, and Borthwick admits England's slow reaction has been analysed.

“We've reviewed the game. It was a good learning experience for us. Italy brought certain tactics, our players adapted,” the forwards coach said.

“We scored the tries that we wanted to and we came away with five points. We're always looking for an 80-minute performance and this is another experience for us to learn from and we'll be better in the future.”

England have relocated to Oxford for this week's training camp in preparation for their next assignment of the Championship, a clash with resurgent Scotland at Twickenham on March 11.

“One thing's for sure and that's our players have come into camp a lot fresher,” Borthwick said. “Courtney Lawes after the Wales game had ice from head to toe because he was so battered.

“We had one third of the amount of rucks that we normally do in terms of comparison. The players are full of energy, which is a good thing for us.

“Scotland are a strong side playing very good rugby. They have a very tall pack and some very athletic forwards with pace.”

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