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HomeSportDefeat will be 'positive' in long term - Borthwick

Defeat will be ‘positive’ in long term – Borthwick


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Joe Marchant was one of the few bright sparks in attack for EnglandEngland’s 20-9 defeat by Wales will be a “positive” for the team in the long term, says head coach Steve Borthwick.England led 9-6 at half-time in Cardiff but struggled to impose themselves in a poor second-half performance.Borthwick, who names his World Cup squad on Monday, has three more warm-up matches before the tournament starts.”Every one of these experiences will be positive for us as we build over the next few weeks to the World Cup,” Borthwick said.England started the game brightly with fly-half Marcus Smith linking effectively with Harlequins team-mate Alex Dombrandt and former club-mate Joe Marchant.But Borthwick’s side failed to score a try from any of the early territory and offered little threat in a flat second-half display.Speaking to Amazon Prime, Borthwick added: “The positive is how many entries we got into the opposition 22 and into their scoring zone.”I thought in the first half we created a lot of opportunities but turned over too much ball in the opposition 22.”You can’t do that in Test rugby, so immediately there are some areas for improvement.”England failed to convert from two five-metre line-outs in the opening period and lost a further five line-outs in the second half.There were also 20 handling errors across the 80 minutes.The margin of defeat to a vibrant Wales side would have been worse had home winger Louis Rees-Zammit not had a late try ruled out after television replays showed he had knocked the ball on before grounding it.Borthwick chose to rest key personnel to give chances to some new faces, with flanker Tom Pearson making his debut from the start and fellow forwards Theo Dan and Tom Willis winning their first caps from the bench.”There was a spell of two or three line-outs in a row where we made some interchanges that made things go into a standard that we wouldn’t require,” said Borthwick.”In the first half I saw the foundations of a real strong set-piece and then in the second half both we and Wales changed personnel and that ascendency in the set-piece changed.”Over the coming weeks the team will sharpen up. We’re still in quite a big training phase and we will sharpen up over the next three games together.”Borthwick added he intends to tell his players on Sunday if they are in the World Cup squad before making his official announcement on Monday morning.”I will reflect where I am in terms of the squad selection and whether this game changes anything or clarifies anything regarding that,” he said.England have a return fixture against Wales at Twickenham next weekend before facing world number one side Ireland in Dublin on 19 August and Fiji at home on 26 August.England’s first World Cup game is against Argentina on 9 September, while they will also face Japan, Chile and Samoa in the group stage.Borthwick’s side have lost their last three matches and have only won two games from six since he took over from Eddie Jones.

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