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Borthwick to leave England amid rugby coaching shake-up

LONDON (AP) — There will be another change to the backroom staff of England’s rugby team at the end of the season when Steve Borthwick leaves his role as assistant coach after five years. Jason Ryles will join from Australian rugby league side Melbourne Storm as the replacement for Borthwick, England said Monday, a week after the Rugby Football Union announced two more coaches were coming into Eddie Jones' staff for the new Rugby World Cup cycle.

Borthwick will depart with his reputation greatly enhanced after developing England’s pack since 2015 as forwards coach, and having the same role with the British and Irish Lions for the drawn series in New Zealand in 2017.

Jones said Borthwick was ready to “get out on his own” after helping the team reach the World Cup final in November, where it lost to South Africa. “He’s made that decision and we are really pleased for him,” Jones said of Borthwick. “He created a great lineout for England and really developed the young guys. If you look at someone like Maro Itoje, he’s become a world-class lock under Steve. He has also turned our maul into a weapon for us and he's done brilliant work coordinating the England program. We will miss him greatly.”

In announcing the arrival of coaches Simon Amor and Matt Proudfoot last week, England said Borthwick would be switching from forwards coach to skills coach, and that’s the role that will be taken up by Ryles.

The 40-year-old Ryles is a former Australia rugby league international who has been assistant coach of Melbourne since 2016 and helped the team to the Premiership title in Australia in 2017 and two other grand-final appearances. He briefly spent time in recent seasons with England, assisting Jones and his coaches.

"I was really impressed in the times that I have come into camp previously with how organized everything is and it’s been a really enjoyable experience from which I have learned a lot,” Ryles said. “My background as a former rugby league player and coach I hope will be really useful and add to the overall program.”

Jones said he hoped Ryles’ skill-set as a coach, particularly with the forwards around the ruck, “will help us with the way the game is going.” Borthwick will still be with England for the upcoming Six Nations, but Billy Vunipola is set to miss the start of the tournament after the No. 8 broke his arm playing for Saracens in the European Champions Cup on Sunday.

Saracens did not give a time frame for Vunipola's absence Monday and he was absent from the 34-man squad list announced by Jones for the Six Nations. It contained eight uncapped players, including flyhalf Jacob Umaga — the nephew of former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga.

England squad:

Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Tom Dunn, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Ted Hill, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, Alex Moon, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Mako Vunipola, Harry Williams

Backs: Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Fraser Dingwall, Owen Farrell, George Ford, George Furbank, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Ollie Thorley, Manu Tuilagi, Jacob Umaga, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs

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