England Rugby have named Paul Gustard as their new defence coach, as Eddie Jones continues to build his backroom team ahead of the 2016 RBS Six Nations.
The Saracens defence mastermind will leave his role with the Premiership club in the New Year and will link up with Jones and Steve Borthwick, who was appointed forwards coach on Tuesday.
These appointments are likely to fill England fans with hope and optimism ahead of the 2016 Six Nations which begins when England travel to Scotland on Saturday 6th February.
Jones worked with Gustard during his time with Saracens as a consultant and gave him his first coaching role in 2008. Since the 39-year-old has overseen the transformation of the Saracens defence in recent years and is credited with creating the now famous ‘Wolfpack’ system.
Gustard marshalled the England defence on the 2013 tour to Argentina, while Andy Farrell in Australia with the British and Irish Lions. His work on that tour didn’t go unnoticed as England won the two game series in comprehensive fashion and he has long been earmarked as a future international coach.
Gustard to bring aggression to England defence in Six Nations
On the appointment of Gustard, Jones said: “An important part of England going forward is to make sure we keep the traditional and fundamental bits of English rugby in place and that has always been a strong set piece and a very aggressive defence.
“He has overseen Saracens growth as a team. He has produced an aggressive defence system there and we are hoping he can do the same for England.”
It is clear that Jones wants Gustard to bring that level of aggression in defence which has made Saracens so special, to England. While the reports of Dylan Hartley being made captain would certainly follow the line of thinking, which is to make an England hard edged team.
While Gustard himself added, “To be given the chance with England is hugely humbling and I am thrilled to be involved.
“This has been a difficult decision to make, but to coach England is an opportunity you just don’t turn down. I have enjoyed 10 wonderful years at Saracens, both as a player and as a coach.”