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“Steve really had the overall say”-George Skivington reveals Steve Borthwick’s involvement with England A

England A boss George Skivington has revealed England head coach Steve Borthwick was incredibly involved with the England A selection in a bid to make the set-ups aligned.

England A boss George Skivington has revealed England head coach Steve Borthwick was incredibly involved with the England A selection in a bid to make the set-ups aligned.

The England A squad has been announced, and it features some of the best up-and-coming talent in English rugby right now, with the likes of Alfie Barbeary, Guy Pepper, Rusi Tuima and Fin Baxter all named in the starting team.

All of these players have seen their names mentioned in regard to a Six Nations call-up at some point this season, and Skivington has revealed they’ve all been included in the England A squad because Borthwick believes they’re capable of playing test rugby for England in the future.

“I’ve got to be honest on this, Steve really had the overall say,” Skivington told Rugby Nause News. “We had good discussions coming into the camp over the last month or so, and we’ve had good discussions this week as well.”

He added: “Steve knows who he wants to see playing. I had my opinion and that’s great but ultimately it’s the lad Steve believes, the 23 here he believes have the potential to play for the first team in the next few years and that’s ultimately what he was picking the team on.”

With Steve Borthwick’s head fully focused on regaining the Calcutta Cup, it could be assumed he will miss the match at Welford Road on Sunday, but Skivington said Borthwick will be going to watch the England A game.

“Steve’s coming to the game. I think he’s going to leave after the Scotland match and head down, so he’s got a decent journey; but that’s how important this fixture is to him.”

George Skivington on England A and England being aligned

Gloucester Rugby v Sale Sharks, Gloucester, UK – 28 Jan 2024 George Skivington, Gloucester Rugby Director of Rugby during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Sale Sharks at Kingsholm Stadium on 28 January 2024 in Gloucester, England. Photo by Tom Sandberg/PPAUK Gloucester Kingsholm Stadium GBR Copyright: xTomxSandberg/PPAUKx PPA-085013

Steve Borthwick’s involvement with the England A set-up clearly points to it being a way for him to see how players will adapt to the international stage.

As Skivington said, the squad has been picked because Borthwick feels the players could push into the England team in the future, and the current Gloucester boss also said there will be ‘as much alignment as possible’ between England A and the main England squad.

“We’ve gone as aligned as we possibly can,” he told the media. Steve is very aware that we’ve only got a week, so his message was ‘here’s the template we’re working off, run with it as much as you can, but you’ve got a bit of a license to do things your way because ultimately we’re all here because we’ve got certain skill sets’.

He added: “We’ve tried to get it as near as possible and try and make it as easy as possible for guys like Charlie Ewels, Jamie Blamire, Harry Randall, Will Muir, Max Ojomoh and Oscar Beard dropping down. It won’t be exactly the same because we’ve only been together a week, but we’re doing our best to get as aligned as we possibly can.”