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Page last updated at 14:38 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Skipper Borthwick defies critics

Steve Borthwick
Borthwick says his self-belief has not been shaken by England's problems

Steve Borthwick has defended his tenure as England captain but admitted that his teams disciplinary problems are continuing to cost them dear.

In the nine Tests since Borthwick took over the captaincy, England have had 13 players sent to the sin-bin.

They have also paid heavily for a high penalty count in defeats by Australia, Wales and Ireland.

"There has inevitably been a lot of criticism flying around but I feel good about my own game," Borthwick said.

"With the help of the senior players, I believe I am captaining the side well. It continues to be a fantastic honour.

"We need to all help each other to make better decisions. We have collective responsibility as a team for our discipline on the field.


"I think there is such a great desire to do well and sometimes that can spill over into over-eagerness.

"We are all so passionate and hungry for success, but that has to be controlled better."

Borthwick added that England manager Martin Johnson was "rightly furious" after the Dublin defeat.

"I know the supporters have heard this all before, but we must immediately get a grip on our discipline," he said.

Johnson will name the England team to face France at Twickenham on Saturday at 1300 GMT on Wednesday.

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