Wigglesworth joins England coaching set-up

England have recruited two more coaches from Leicester as Steve Borthwick continues to assemble his management team.
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On the day it was confirmed Richard Cockerill would step down at the end of the Guinness Six Nations to join Montpellier, the Rugby Football Union announced the appointment of interim Tigers boss Richard Wigglesworth and Aled Walters.

Wigglesworth joins as an assistant coach, most likely overseeing the attack which is currently being directed by Nick Evans, while Walters will become head of strength and conditioning in the wake of Jon Clarke’s departure.

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Both men will join the England set-up at the end of the season.

England head coach Steve Borthwick during a training session at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey.England head coach Steve Borthwick during a training session at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey.
England head coach Steve Borthwick during a training session at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey.

It lifts the number of coaches taken from Gallagher Premiership champions Leicester to four with Borthwick and his number two Kevin Sinfield also prised away from Welford Road.

The duo will take up their posts at the end of the club season, making them available for the build-up to this autumn’s World Cup in France.

Wigglesworth had only just been appointed to the interim head coach’s role with Leicester which was vacated by Borthwick when he replaced Eddie Jones in December.

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The Tigers have already put together a shortlist of candidates to take over from the former England and Saracens scrum-half on a permanent basis.

“Richard and Aled are two outstanding coaches in their fields who I know very well,” Borthwick said.

“Richard has been a proven winner throughout his playing career and has carried this into his coaching career.

“He already has international coaching experience, from the 2019 World Cup, alongside a hugely successful playing career and has amassed a wealth of knowledge.

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“Few people have such an in-depth, wide-ranging view and understanding of the tactical element of the game.

“Aled is an excellent performance coach who had an incredible impact with the World Cup holders South Africa.

“Wherever he has worked, players improve. I have never met anyone who is able to get more out of players than he does.”

Earlier in the day it was revealed that Cockerill will step down as England’s scrum coach to take charge of Montpellier’s forwards once the Six Nations is over, severing the last remaining tie to Eddie Jones’ management team.

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Cockerill is the only coaching survivor from the Jones era after Matt Proudfoot, Brett Hodgson and Martin Gleeson departed in the wake of the Australian’s sacking in December.

The former Leicester and Edinburgh boss was retained by Borthwick but his duties were reduced from being in overall charge of the pack to overseeing the revival of the worst performing scrum of any tier-one nation in 2022.

Cockerill was recruited by Jones in September 2021 and served a brief spell as interim head coach until Borthwick was appointed.

“It has been an honour to not only play for my country, but to also get the chance to coach England,” Cockerill said.

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“Having coached and played in France previously, my family and I always had aspirations to return.

“This opportunity presented itself some time ago and it was too hard to turn down, personally and professionally.

“It is disappointing not to work with Steve and the wider team beyond the Six Nations. I had hoped to be able stay for the World Cup, but the timings weren’t meant to be.”