Steve Borthwick: New contracts will not allow me to control club playing time

Up to 25 of the contracts will be given to leading squad members chosen by Borthwick.

Duncan Bech
Saturday 06 January 2024 22:00 GMT
Steve Borthwick says England’s hybrid contracts are still being finalised (Mike Egerton/PA)
Steve Borthwick says England’s hybrid contracts are still being finalised (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


England have yet to finalise the details of their ‘hybrid contracts’ but Steve Borthwick has revealed that setting players’ workload when on club duty will not be among his powers.

Up to 25 of the contracts will be given to leading squad members chosen by Borthwick with the deals worth £150,000 per year and ranging in duration from one to three years.

By providing a guaranteed annual sum in advance rather than paying match fees, it is hoped that England’s stars will be persuaded to stay in the Gallagher Premiership instead of pursuing the greater riches on offer in France’s Top 14.

The contracts will also give Borthwick more say in their conditioning and medical programmes when on club duty, but there are clear limitations to an arrangement which is expected to be approved in the Spring.

“The details are still being worked out but there will be no control of player game time,” said head coach Borthwick, who will also be unable to influence what position an England international fills when in action in the Premiership.

“Clearly there is the integrity of the league and we need to make sure the players are available for that. But there is also the understanding that England have the best players available when they are needed.

“We have got to make sure we find a system that works and we all want to see the best players playing for both club and country.

“We have outlined positions where we don’t have huge depth and we want to see the best players for club and country in those positions.

“The clubs want the best players playing and if you look at the minutes and compare them to teams such as Ireland, who have a different system, then since the World Cup the England players have played a lot of minutes.

“How we get this system right is still being worked out but this is definitely a step in the right direction as we find the right solution.”

Borthwick names his squad for the Six Nations on January 17 and will be looking for a better performance than last year’s championship when England managed only two victories and finished fourth.

For the Red Rose boss it feeds into a bigger picture of underachievement in the competition.

“This is a special tournament. Now we’ve got some way to go. England in the last six years in the Six Nations have won 50 per cent of the games,” Borthwick said

“In four of those six years, England only won two games in the Six Nations. What England have done in recent Six Nations hasn’t been good enough so we’ve got work to do.

“I love this tournament and I want England competing again at the end of it for being at the top of the table.”

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