England rugby team respond to Botham 'unhappy' blast


Publish Date: 14:19 Thursday, February 25, 2021

|| AFP ||

England forwards coach Matt Proudfoot has insisted all is well within the Six Nations champions' squad after cricket great Ian Botham said they "don't look a happy camp".

Botham, one of England's most celebrated sportsmen, has said he will be backing Wales when the two countries meet in the Six Nations in Cardiff on Saturday as his grandson James is a member of the hosts' squad.

"I think Wales can take them at this moment in time because England don't look a happy camp to me, looking from the outside in," Botham told BBC Sport.

But Proudfoot said England, who bounced back from their opening loss to Scotland with a comprehensive win over Italy, told reporters on Wednesday: "Strange how someone can look inside the Lensbury (England's hotel near Twickenham) bubble and know how happy we are. We're extremely happy.

"There's continual stimulation, ways of people interacting to create that feeling of a team environment and the buzz that isolation tries to keep us away from each other."

Former Springboks assistant Proudfoot added: "What people must not underestimate is that this is a competitive competition, you learn in defeats what you learn in victories. It doesn't make it an unhappy camp.

"I think we're a very determined camp."

Meanwhile Botham, one of cricket's greatest all-rounders, had no qualms over his change of allegiance.

"I'm actually very happy to pull on that red shirt when they play England because obviously blood is thicker than water," he said.

"I am a proud Englishman, but I go UK for that weekend. It is a UK match. I'm supporting Wales, of course I am. What grandfather wouldn't? That's the question I would put to people."