New Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick has set out his approach to team selection in the clearest possible terms.
Speaking to national media for the first time in his new role – albeit remotely from the club’s Oval Park training base – Borthwick explained how players will be assessed on every minute of every session in a Tigers shirt.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with two very, very good selectors in Warren Gatland and Eddie Jones,” he said, naming previous bosses at international level with the British & Irish Lions and England.
“Their approach was always to take input from those coaches around them and where every single day is a selection day.
“Every single day you’re looking at the players and assessing them.
“It’s also about understanding the responsibility you have to have that final say but, with that, being really clear on the reference points you have – how you want to play, the strengths you have in your squad and why you’re trying to do it.”
He also described the importance of coaches justifying decisions to players.
“I was always so impressed when I listened to Eddie and Warren Gatland, their ability to justify clearly why they made the selections they made, what were the reasons, how they thought so deeply about it,” he added.
Borthwick explained how the approach to selection sits alongside a mindset of constantly driving players, coaches and staff to be better.
“I take incredible enjoyment in helping players achieve their goals and helping players improve,” said.
“Whether that’s players who are 18 years old and making their first steps in professional rugby, or whether that is senior internationals, I want to help all of them as much as I possibly can.
“Let me be very clear – every day, I want to work towards winning. That’s what we’re here for.
“I want us to win. I’m absolutely unequivocal about that.
“Every single day we want to work towards that plan. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ve got a very good coaching staff here – Aled Walters did not leave the South African team to come here and not work towards winning.”
When asked about his expectations of the playing squad, the former England captain had no hesitation in revealing what is required to wear the green, white and red.
“What we want is a team that works exceptionally hard and ensure we are fighting for every single bit we possibly can,” he said.
“I talk a lot about effort, and my expectations are that we compete for everything we possibly can.
“That is a very clear expectation.”