England have appointed Leicester’s Steve Borthwick as their new men’s national team head coach, nine months before the start of the World Cup in France.
The 43-year-old is joined by defense coach Kevin Sinfield, who he has worked with at Leicester since 2021.
Borthwick has been the favorite to take on the role since Eddie Jones was sacked and joined on a five-year contract.
“I want the whole country to be proud of us and enjoy watching us play,” Borthwick said.
The former England captain’s first game in charge will be the Six Nations opener against Scotland on February 4.
Borthwick and England will return to Twickenham for this fixture trying to regain the trust of the fans, with some boos following a 27-13 loss to South Africa in November.
At Leicester, Richard Wigglesworth will end his playing career to become the club’s interim head coach.
When Borthwick took over at Leicester in 2020, the club were struggling at the bottom of the Premiership, but improved their fortunes to lead them to their first top flight title in nine years last season.
Having worked as Jones’ assistant with Japan and then England, he was due to take the reins after the 2023 World Cup – but that date was brought forward after the side’s poor form, which won five of 12 Tests in 2022 .
Borthwick’s contract will last until the end of 2027 – taking England through two World Cups.
“I am deeply honored to be appointed England head coach and am very excited about the challenge,” said Borthwick.
“The English game is full of talent and I want to build a winning team that makes the most of our huge potential and inspires young people to fall in love with rugby union like I did.
“The hard work starts now and the planning for the Guinness Six Nations and Rugby World Cup starts today. I’m going to give it my all.”
Borthwick was part of the coaching staff during the British and Irish Lions’ tour to New Zealand in 2017, which resulted in a series of draw tests.
As a player, Borthwick was a lock for Saracens and Bath, earning 57 England caps before retiring in 2014.
Rugby league great Sinfield has joined Borthwick from Leicester as defense coach ahead of the start of the 2021-22 season.
Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney described Borthwick as “our first-choice successor to Eddie”.
“Steve and Kevin’s insight and first-hand knowledge of the players will be a great asset and everyone at the RFU is right behind them with our full support,” Sweeney continued.