Steve Borthwick cancels England trip to Portugal ahead of Six Nations

Steve Borthwick says hard work awaits his England team (Adan Davy/PA) (PA Wire)
Steve Borthwick says hard work awaits his England team (Adan Davy/PA) (PA Wire)

Steve Borthwick has signalled a significant change in direction from the Eddie Jones era by jettisoning overseas trips in favour of making his England rugby team graft at home.

England were due to begin preparations for their Six Nations opener against Scotland on February 4 at a training camp in Portugal next week that had been arranged by Jones.

But, along with a fallow-week trip to France, it has been cancelled while doubt hovers over the trips to Austria and Treviso intended to form part of the team’s build-up to the World Cup.

Jones viewed overseas training camps as an opportunity to strengthen team bonds, more latterly introducing the Japanese ritual of misogi designed to bring the squad closer together through a series of gruelling phsyical challenges.

It had little impact on the field, however, as a dire 2022 resulted in Jones being sacked and replaced by Borthwick, who is prioritising hard work over travel.

“I have changed the Six Nations plans. The plan was due to be overseas a few times in the Six Nations but we are going to be in England,” Borthwick said.

“We are going to be working. I am not saying anything about previous plans, but I am saying that we need to get on the training field and start building some relationships. We need to start building how we are going to play and build the team we want.

“I keep things pretty simple. I like a tight group of people around the team and making plans for the team that are as simple as possible to give the players the best chance to bring their strengths onto the pitch.

“We are going to come into camp and start training straight away to build this team.”