Borthwick's final hurrah

Mon, 02 Dec 2013 10:49
Large steve borthwick charges Large steve borthwick saracens

Saracens have another reason to try and claim a European Cup crown after skipper Steve Borthwick announced his decision to retire at the end of the season.

Saracens now have another reason to try and claim a first European Cup crown after skipper Steve Borthwick announced his decision to retire at the end of the season.

Borthwick led Sarries to a semifinal spot in last year's competition before defeat to champions-in-waiting Toulon robbed them of a maiden European final 12 months after Clermont Auvergne ended their involvement in the last eight.

The 34-year-old lock is hoping to go one step further this term as Sarries look to add the European Cup trophy to the English title they won in 2011, although defeat to four-times continental kings Toulouse at Wembley last month has put them on the back foot in Pool Three.

Borthwick will be at the heart of their quest to bounce back from that disappointment with successive wins over Zebre on December 7 at the Stadio XXV Aprile and again a week later at Allianz Park but he has turned down the chance to carry on playing next season.

The former England international, who captained his country between 2008 and 2010 and wore national colours on 57 occasions over nine years, was offered a new contract but instead decided to quit while he is still in fine form.

"Very few players have the chance to retire on their own terms," said Borthwick. "Saracens did ask me if I'd like to carry on but I feel that the time is right for me to finish playing at the end of the season.

"That's still a few months away, and I am obviously 100 percent focused on improving as a player and leading this team to the best of my ability."

Borthwick has played 253 times in the top-flight of English Rugby with Saracens and previous club Bath and has made 88 appearances in Europe. A half century of those have been European Cup starts, with two more coming as a replacement and another 36 being in the Challenge Cup.

He led Bath to Challenge Cup glory in 2008 and is highly respected across the game, no more so than by his current employers, for whom he has been instrumental in their rise to the top echelons of the European game.

"Steve has become a Saracens legend, as a leader, as a player, as a man who sets the highest standards in everything he does," said Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall.

Sharks vs Blue Bulls
sast: 14h30 | local: 14h30

  • 37 | 27
LIVE
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 21 October 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Leinster 12h00 Scotstoun
Treviso v Toulon 14h15 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Western Province v Golden Lions 15h00 Cape Town
Clermont Auvergne v Northampton Saints 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Munster v Racing Metro 16h30 Thomond Park
Leicester Tigers v Castres 16h30 Welford Road
Saracens v Ospreys 18h45 Allianz Park
Sun, 22 October 2017
Montpellier v Exeter Chiefs 12h00 Altrad Stadium
La Rochelle v Ulster 14h15 Paris
Wasps v Harlequins 16h30 Ricoh Arena
Fri, 27 October 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Kings 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 AJ Bell Stadium
Ospreys v Dragons 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Munster 19h35 Sportsground
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 1 1 0 0 5
Ulster 1 1 0 0 4
Harlequins 1 0 0 1 1
Wasps 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 1 1 0 0 5
Clermont Auvergne 1 1 0 0 4
Ospreys 1 0 0 1 1
Northampton Saints 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 1 1 0 0 5
Exeter Chiefs 1 1 0 0 4
Montpellier 1 0 0 1 1
Glasgow Warriors 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Racing Metro 1 1 0 0 4
Castres 1 0 1 0 2
Munster 1 0 1 0 2
Leicester Tigers 1 0 0 1 1
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Bath 2 2 0 0 8
Toulon 1 1 0 0 4
Scarlets 2 0 0 2 2
Treviso 1 0 0 1 0