England's scrum one of the slowest in tier-one rugby - Steve Borthwick

Steve Borthwick was disappointed with England's performance
Steve Borthwick was disappointed with England's performance

England coach Steve Borthwick believes his side has to improve on the scrum as they face Italy in the second round of the Six Nations on 12th February.

A double from Max Malins and a touchdown from Ellis Genge put England in front but Duhan van der Merwe had other plans as his 74th minute touchdown steered the Dark Blues to a 29-23 victory to kick-start their Six Nations campaign.

Speaking about the defeat Borthwick said "We know we've got a lot of work to do. I've been frank from day one in saying that.

"When I looked at the team in the autumn, when I measured the team and got all the data, we weren't good at anything. It was as frank as that."

The former Leicester boss said they are working on improving their scrum speed which was a matter of concern in the recent times.

"There are multiple areas we have tried to change. You saw some improvement in the scrum against Scotland which I was pleased about because it has been ranked as the worst scrum in tier-one rugby.

"We saw some improvements in the attack and speed of ball and we tried to improve the breakdown where England were ranked the ninth quickest, so one of the slowest in tier one.

"I'd seen a habit within the team of conceding points early and not being able to respond to it. We conceded points against Scotland and the biggest thing I was looking at was the response."

Nevertheless, Borthwick admitted that the defence and attack had improved a bit and is expecting the side to only get better from here with the World Cup scheduled later this year.

"I thought the response was magnificent. We saw improvement against Scotland in a lot of areas. Some areas didn't go so well and we need to make sure we get those addressed. Some take longer than others.

"We are trying to rebuild the set-piece here. That takes time. You saw some improvement in our attack.

"In terms of the way we hit in defence, there were improvements there but there were a couple of tries which Scotland took brilliantly, which is immense credit to them.