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Borthwick sees bronze medal as a springboard to England success

England’s head coach, Steve Borthwick, is hoping his side’s bronze medal finish at the Rugby World Cup will prove a springboard to greater success in the years ahead. England survived a second-half comeback to beat the Pumas 26-23 and Borthwick believes his side will benefit from the experience.

“We want to be in the final and winning gold medals,” said Borthwick. “I think it’s going to be important for the team going forward. I’m delighted for the players. We played seven games at this World Cup, won six and lost the other by one point to the current world champions. While things haven’t been perfect the players have found a way to win games. I really hope they have enjoyed it.”

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Borthwick, who says he is already planning ahead for next year’s Six Nations, did concede the game was “not a classic of free-flowing rugby” but he and his captain Owen Farrell both believe the squad had improved during their time in France. “There is a lot to come from this team,” said Farrell. “Once we got here we feel like we have got better and better and built throughout the tournament.”

Farrell also suggested his side had earned their bronze medals. “It was tough. Very tough. I thought we started the game really well. We got on the front foot, we were physical. We made some inroads and then it didn’t end up being that game. Argentina played a big part in that. It was scrappy thereafter and we did what we needed to do to get the win. We want to show that this team fights for every minute of the game. We wanted to finish this tournament off right. It was a big chapter in our journey.”

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Julián Montoya, Argentina’s skipper, said his side had not always helped themselves. “We made some mistakes. We need to be better with the things we can control. We scored a try and then conceded from the kick-off. But we fought for every ball and I’m proud of the team.”

His coach Michael Cheika felt his players had been unfortunate. “I feel for the lads as they deserved more than they got today.”

Borthwick, meanwhile, has again queried World Rugby’s decision not to pursue any charges after Tom Curry’s complaint to the referee in the semi-final against South Africa that he had been verbally abused. “Let’s just be clear here,” Borthwick told ITV. “Tom’s done nothing wrong. When people talk about the situation, something was said to Tom, Tom reported it the referee, as you’d expect a player to in a situation like that.

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“Tom has been terrific all week with all kinds of other things that have been going on. World Rugby unfortunately have made a decision we’re very disappointed in.”