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Borthwick: Incredible character shone through in Wales win

Borthwick: Incredible character shone through in Wales win

Borthwick: Incredible character shone through in Wales win

Steve Borthwick saluted his England side for the resilience shown in their gritty 19-17 Summer Nations Series win over Wales at Twickenham.

England were reduced to 12 men at one stage after Ellis Genge and Freddie Steward had been sin-binned before Owen Farrell received a red card – the first England player to have a yellow upgraded by the new ‘Bunker’ review system – for a dangerous tackle on Taine Basham.

But despite their numerical handicap, Maro Itoje crossed for England’s first try of the month before George Ford made sure of victory from the tee.

The result was especially pleasing following England’s 20-9 reverse against the same opposition in Cardiff a week ago, boosting morale within the camp ahead of fixtures against Ireland and Fiji.

“I’m incredibly proud of the character the players showed,” said Borthwick.

“To go down to 12 men and be resilient and fight their way through that situation is an immense credit to them.

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“There’s a group of players that don’t stop, they just keep going. That’s something they’ve worked hard to instil in this group.

“Ultimately we don’t want to be in that situation, we want 15 on the pitch, but they dealt with the situation and came through it well.”

The big blemish on an otherwise positive day for England was the dismissal of Farrell, who could potentially miss the start of next month’s Rugby World Cup, with a disciplinary hearing set to determine his fate in the coming days.

The loss of the England captain would undoubtedly be a huge blow to a side in transition, but fellow fly-half Ford insists he has the support of all his teammates.

“He is huge for us, he is the captain and the way he drives things every day is unbelievable,” said Ford.

“We will get around him whatever the situation and whatever the outcome is.”

Wales, meanwhile, have their own personnel concerns ahead of the World Cup, after captain Dewi Lake and back row Taine Plumtree joined their mounting injury list on Saturday.

Hooker Lake left the field in the first half with a knee injury, while Plumtree suffered a shoulder issue on his first Wales start.

Boss Warren Gatland is due to name his squad on 21 August but faces issues across the park, especially at hooker, with Lake, Ryan Elias and Ken Owens all currently unavailable.

Commenting on Lake’s withdrawal in the 26th minute, Gatland said: “He is pretty gutted and disappointed.

“He’s gone to jackal on the ball, Owen Farrell has tried to roll him, and he’s ended up landing on his leg.

“It’s unfortunate and it looks like he’s got a knee injury but we don’t know the extent of it or how bad it is.”

Taulupe Faletau, Gareth Anscombe, Johnny Williams and Alex Cuthbert are the other doubts for the World Cup, but Gatland insists they must feature in the warm-up matches to stand a chance of selection.

“You need to be playing some rugby, we’ve got to make sure we’re match fit in terms of the pressure we’re going to come under,” said Gatland.

“We’re getting ourselves ready for the World Cup but it’s also about finding out about players when we do come to finally naming the squad.”


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