Steve Borthwick credits his accelerated coaching development to Eddie Jones as a place on Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions staff beckons.
Borthwick is set to take charge of the forwards in New Zealand next summer and, although an appointment has yet to be finalised, Gatland has held talks with the England assistant coach.
The 37-year-old ended his playing career at Saracens in 2014 and immediately took up a role with Jones in Tokyo, using his line-out expertise to help Japan record their finest World Cup performance including a shock upset of South Africa.
When Jones was recruited by Twickenham last November, among his first steps was to prise Borthwick away from Bristol, and England’s pack have flourished under his guidance.
Jones has already given his blessing to any of his lieutenants joining the Lions, and Borthwick insists it is down to the Australian that he is in the position to be considered.
“If I’m asked the question by the Lions, it would be an honour to be asked and a privilege to do it,” Borthwick said. “I have definitely benefited from working under Eddie Jones, who has been phenomenal for me as a young coach developing.
“I have an awful lot to learn, but I feel very fortunate that I’ve got a head coach like him and some excellent assistant coaches that I work with.”
Borthwick’s promotion by the Lions would be welcomed by Mako Vunipola, his former Saracens team-mate and a tourist when the elite of British and Irish rugby crushed Australia in 2013.
“Steve was a great coach when he was still playing,” Vunipola said. “It was like having your forwards coach out there with you.
“It made it very easy for us as players and it is the same now that he is coach. That detail makes it very easy to understand.
“He picks up on anything. From my job as a lifter, you think you have a great lift but he will pick up on where your feet are positioned.
“Even the smallest things make a massive difference for him. He is all about getting the basics right first and the rest will come along with it.
“It is the way he trains, too. He is always bringing in new ways of making us better lifters, better jumpers.
“It was obvious he was going to be a great coach. He is a great leader and when he talks, people listen. That is not a bad trait to have as a coach.”
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