Steve Borthwick's proposed appointment as England forwards coach is set to go ahead as planned after current employers Bristol confirmed that they have now reached an agreement with the Rugby Football Union. The 36-year-old's new position was initially announced earlier this week, but later became shrouded in controversy after his club released an angry statement to reject claims they had even allowed him to holds talks with the RFU.
Borthwick only officially joined the Championship outfit in November, replacing Danny Wilson after working with new England head coach Eddie Jones during Japan's memorable 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign. The prospect of losing his services so soon certainly appeared to upset Bristol, but any potentially damaging club versus country row has now been successfully defused.
"The RFU and Bristol Rugby have reached an agreement to release Steve Borthwick from his coaching contract with the Greene King IPA Championship club," Bristol confirmed in a new statement on 19 December. "Borthwick, who earlier this week agreed personal terms to join Eddie Jones' coaching team, will begin work as England forwards coach with immediate effect."
Former lock Borthwick, who won 57 international caps for his country and served as captain of the team between 2008-10, will join Paul Gustard on Jones' revamped backroom staff after he agreed to replace Andy Farrell. The Saracens stalwart will remain with the Aviva Premiership champions until preparations for the 2016 Six Nations commence in January. Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt have also left their positions following the departure of Stuart Lancaster in the aftermath of England's dismal World Cup showing.
"We very much appreciate that our approach for Steve has come at a challenging time for Bristol during the season, and in such circumstances I thank them for reaching this agreement," RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said of Borthwick's arrival. "I would like to thank in particular the club's chairman Chris Booy for concluding the matter."
Booy added: "On behalf of the club we wish Steve Borthwick the very best with England and we are pleased that we can move on and begin the process to recruit a new coach as quickly as possible."