Borthwick rejects Robinson claims
March 12, 2010
Scrum-half Care is under pressure to get the England backs moving against the Scots © Getty Images
England captain Steve Borthwick has dismissed complaints from Scotland coach Andy Robinson that his side employ illegal American Football-style blocking tactics.
Robinson this week urged referee Marius Jonker to keep a close eye on England's dummy runners, who he claimed are taking out defenders and opening space for the ball-carrier. But Borthwick, who has played under Robinson for Bath and England, gave the accusation short shrift ahead of tomorrow's Calcutta Cup showdown.
"No referee has spoken to me about it. We train within the laws of the game and we play within the laws of the game," said Borthwick. "Marius Jonker is the referee this weekend. He did the corresponding fixture at Twickenham last year and the game against Australia in the autumn. What matters is not Andy Robinson's opinion or my opinion but Marius Jonker's opinion."
Borthwick caused a row last year by accusing Scotland of being ungracious in victory after they had won at Murrayfield in 2008. But the Saracens lock was unwilling to make any pre-match statements which could fire up the Scots even more than usual for a match against the Auld Enemy. "That is all in the past," said Borthwick. "Both teams have changed from two years ago. I am thinking about this weekend, not about two years ago or four years ago."
Borthwick's men are at a pivotal point in their campaign after two victories, over Wales and Italy, and a defeat to Ireland. Victory would keep their title ambitions alive but defeat would leave England facing another average season at best.
"Those are the bare facts," said Borthwick. "If, as players, we start to consider other things like that, it changes what we are setting out to do. We want to win this game against Scotland. There is always expectation and it is great to be part of this team because of it but whatever else is around, we want to win this Test match."