RFU bosses are determined to back Borthwick and his assistant, Kevin Sinfield, for the long haul, in a bid to bring stability and continuity to the England set-up.
England will be expected to reach the quarter-finals after dispatching Argentina 27-10 in Marseille last Saturday, but even a collapse would not be likely to spell the end for Borthwick.
The head coach has developed a more open and inclusive environment, with players feeling more comfortable in being themselves without compromising the challenging conditions required to improve their rugby.
Borthwick and Sinfield were installed until the end of the 2027 World Cup, and RFU chiefs want to stick to the prudent plan of allowing the duo to put long-term strategies in place with the Test team. While that backing is not cast-iron, there is a pervading view that England’s coaching duo will deserve a full World Cup cycle to build the team.
England lost six of their first nine matches under Borthwick, but the opening win over Argentina has settled some nerves, and England will be expected to negotiate clashes with Japan, Chile and Samoa to reach the knockout stages.
Borthwick’s future is not thought to be linked to that of Bill Sweeney, with the RFU chief executive having endured an embattled 12 months across the Eddie Jones saga and the community game tackle-height fiasco.
Sweeney will be hoping for a strong World Cup performance from England to restore weight to his tenure, having put a lot on the line by unseating Jones just nine months out from the tournament. The former BOA chief executive let Jones’s England reign drift after several underperforming years, only to sack him just nine matches before the World Cup.
The RFU were unable to stop Jones then taking up a head coaching role with England’s rivals Australia, who remain a potential quarter-final opponent in France. The lack of a non-compete clause in Jones’s contract dated back to his 2015 appointment by then-CEO Ian Ritchie. England had ample opportunity to alter those terms, but failed to do so.
Sweeney insisted it would be a “great day” should England face Jones’s Australia in the last-eight at this World Cup when appointing Borthwick in December. But just a month later, he was facing widespread calls to resign from dissenting voices in the community game.
The RFU announced a lowering of tackle-height level to the waist in hurriedly communicated guidance in January, only to apologise and alter that language to sternum amid a muddled and rushed strategy over player safety.