Steve Borthwick has been cleared to join the British and Irish Lions coaching team and will travel to New Zealand with instructions from Eddie Jones to begin plotting England’s route to victory over the world champions.
The Grand Slam champions extended their triumphant run to 12 Tests after routing Fiji 58-15 in the second of the autumn’s four internationals at Twickenham, amassing nine tries against the outgunned Islanders.
Borthwick is reported to have been offered a position on Warren Gatland’s coaching team for next summer’s Lions tour to New Zealand, reprising the forwards tracksuit role he currently performs for the Red Rose.
Any such appointment would receive the blessing of Jones, who sees an opportunity to seize an early advantage ahead of England’s next scheduled meeting against New Zealand in 2018.
“I’m happy for all of my coaching team except me to be involved in the Lions tour,” said Jones.
“If they are offered a job I will encourage them to take the job and get down there and work out how to beat New Zealand because that is one of our aims. They can help us and the Lions.
“What a great opportunity to spend six weeks in New Zealand on the Lions tour. Ten weeks of hearing ‘bro’ seven million times and getting to understand everything about New Zealand rugby.
“Ultimately, if New Zealand are number one when we play them they will be the side to beat, but we are not sure they are going to be number one.”
Nine tries were amassed in the second autumn international with Jonathan Joseph, Semesa Rokoduguni and Joe Launchbury crossing twice and with less than half an hour on the clock England had surged 34-0 ahead.
A passive Fijian defence waved them through at every opportunity, but either side of half time it became the hosts’ turn to crumble as Nemani Nadolo, Leone Nakarawa and Metuisela Talebula plundered soft tries.
Owen Farrell became only the second England player to pass the 500-point mark with his haul of four conversions and a penalty on his 45th Test appearance lifting him to 508, in pursuit of Jonny Wilkinson’s 1,179.
Jones’s winning run now reads a perfect 12 matches, but in Argentina and Australia there are far tougher challenges to come, South Africa having been over-run 37-21 in the opener last Saturday.
Daly emerged as the star of England’s record victory over Fiji in seven meetings, celebrating his second Test start by proving he is as comfortable on the wing as at outside centre with a brilliantly-taken try that tied Fiji in knots.
The jury remains out on Rokoduguni, who was winning a second cap having made his debut two years ago, with the Bath flier looking sharp in attack but leaving question marks over his defence.
The victory – the 11th of Jones’s reign – was not without its flaws, however, with those three soft tries leaked either side of half time.
“To score 58 points against Fiji is outstanding because they are a fair team, so I’m really happy with aspects of our game,” said Jones.
“We dropped off at certain times but it’s always difficult when you get a big lead to maintain that intensity. But that is the next step of a team going forward – that is what we want to achieve.
“If we want greatness in our team we have to maintain that intensity after racing into an early lead.
“There were some great individual performances but there are obviously areas we have to improve on against Argentina which is going to be a tricky game.
“We played really good English rugby. Some of George Ford’s alignment on some of the phase ball was absolutely outstanding, the best I have seen for a long time.”
George Kruis is available against Argentina on Saturday with Jones considering his immediate return to England’s starting XV.
Kruis has missed the autumn victories over South Africa and Fiji after undergoing minor ankle surgery and his club Saracens estimated that he would be sidelined for four to eight weeks.
The second row, an ever-present under Jones until injury struck, has made a rapid recovery while ensconced at England’s Surrey training base and Jones must decide whether to break up the Courtney Lawes-Joe Launchbury partnership that has served him well so far this autumn.
“Kruis is probably going to be available – he’s fit and ready to go. He doesn’t necessarily need to play for his club first,” continued Jones.
“Neither Joe nor Courtney had great training weeks. They both had ailments that clouded our selection a bit, so their effort against Fiji was good.”
England: Goode; Rokoduguni, Joseph (Slade 66), Farrell (Te’o 53), Daly; Ford, Youngs (Care 53); M Vunipola (Marler 52), Hartley (George 52), Cole (Sinckler 58), Launchbury, Lawes (Ewels 66), Robshaw, Harrison (Hughes 48), B Vunipola.
Fiji: Talebula; Masilevu (Murimurivalu 6), Tikoirotuma, Vulivuli, Nadolo; Matavesi, Vularika (Matawalu 41); Ma’afu (Ravai 6), Koto (Tuapati 52), Saulo (Atalifo 66), Ratuniyawara (Soqeta 54), Nakarawa, Waqaniburotu (Radrodro 78), Yato, Qera (capt) (Dawai 59).
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy).