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England training session clashes with Georgia “pushing and shoving” – Borthwick

England are preparing for their next Six Nations game with Italy on March 9.

Steve Borthwick claims clashes between England and Georgia players in training was “pushing and shoving”. (Steve Paston/PA)
Steve Borthwick claims clashes between England and Georgia players in training was “pushing and shoving”. (Steve Paston/PA)

England forwards coach Steve Borthwick has played down as routine “pushing and shoving” the clashes that took place between England and Georgia players during training on Wednesday.

It was reported that the session, at St Edward’s School in Oxford and watched by young pupils, became so heated that punches were thrown and the two groups had to be separated.

Georgia had been invited to join preparations for the March 9 Six Nations fixture against Italy, and did so again on Thursday despite what had unfolded the day before.

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England’s players being put through their paces at a recent training session. (Steven Paston/PA)

Borthwick said: “As sometimes happens in training there was some pushing and shoving and that’s about it. You get on with the next scrum.

“It was a good session and (Thursday’s) was a good session as well.

“The guys scrummed hard against each other, there was some pushing and shoving, which happens in rugby.

“It happened quite a lot throughout my career, a bit of pushing and shoving that settles down and you get on with what you need to do.

“That’s part of what happens at rugby, people compete hard against each other, and then shake hands and get on with things.

The guys scrummed hard against each other, there was some pushing and shoving, which happens in rugby. England forwards coach Steve Borthwick

“The guys trained against each other, trained hard again (on Thursday), shook hands and thanked each other for the training experience, for the session, which is great.”

Georgia head coach Milton Haig, from New Zealand and a friend of England counterpart Eddie Jones, had previously described the chance to train with them as a “great opportunity”.

Asked if they would reconsider further invitations to Georgia to do so, the 39-year-old Borthwick responded: “We’re always looking at what the best training’s going to be for us going forward, and these two days have been excellent; really good for the team.

“It’s good experience, and good competition on the training field, which is excellent, exactly what we want. Our training plans going forward, we’re always looking at how we can improve them.

“We’ve done it against Georgia twice now as we look to see how we can improve our training, and make it the best it possibly can be. We’ll always look at different options.”

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