Steve Borthwick: Leicester Tigers coach refuses to comment on England links as RFU negotiate compensation
Steve Borthwick insists his focus is on Leicester Tigers' Champions Cup meeting with Ospreys this weekend; the RFU and Leicester are in negotiations over compensation for Borthwick as England seek their successor to Eddie Jones
Last Updated: 09/12/22 3:50pm
Steve Borthwick refused to comment on speculation touting him as favourite for the England head coach job as he dedicated his immediate focus to Leicester Tigers on Friday.
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) is currently in negotiations with Leicester over the release of Borthwick to replace Eddie Jones as England boss.
Borthwick, though, declined to address links to the role and underlined his respect for the Tigers organisation ahead of this weekend's Champions Cup clash with Ospreys.
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"We play Ospreys on Sunday night and that's what I'm focused upon," Borthwick said on Friday. "That's what my team is focused upon, and that's what we've been focused upon all week.
"Within Leicester Tigers and this team here, there is no talk here of anything other than the game on Sunday night.
"I don't think anyone can possibly doubt how committed I have been since the minute I walked through this door to give the best I can for this team, and that is my intention again this week to get the performance we want."
Asked if he had spoken to the RFU this week, Borthwick said he is in contact with them regularly courtesy of the international players on Leicester's books.
"I speak to somebody from the RFU every week regarding what we do here, we have an incredibly close relationship with people at the RFU, we've got lots of England players here and will have many more England players as we develop our young players coming through the ranks," he said.
Sky Sports News understands there is a disparity in the RFU and the Tigers' valuation, though Leicester have made it clear they would not stand in Borthwick's way were England to come calling.
Tigers are reportedly seeking £500,000 in compensation, while the RFU is currently offering £200,000.
Jones was sacked as England head coach on Tuesday after seven years in charge having guided the team to just five wins in 12 Tests in 2022 and managing just one win in four during a poor autumn campaign.
Borthwick served as Japan assistant coach from 2012 to 2015 alongside Jones and moved on to work under him again as England forwards coach until 2020 before leaving to become Leicester head coach, his first top job.
He led Leicester to title glory last season as Tigers defeated Saracens at Twickenham to cap a remarkable ascent from finishing second-bottom of the Premiership in 2020.
Should Borthwick be appointed it would come just nine months out from the 2023 World Cup in France, four years after England finished runners-up to South Africa in Japan.
As a player the 43-year-old made his England debut during the 2001 Six Nations before later captaining his country for two years on his way to 57 caps in total.
He would be tasked with turning around an England team nursing the fallout of their first losing Test record since 2008.