Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Borthwick May Miss out on Saracens Showpiece

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Borthwick May Miss out on Saracens Showpiece

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Purewal

STEVE Borthwick's 'significant pectoral injury' could deny the Saracens captain the chance to close a decorated career with backto-back Heineken Cup and Aviva Premiership finals.

Former England captain Borthwick must train tomorrow to prove his fitness for Saracens' double final fortnight.

Saracens rugby director Mark McCall rated the 34-year-old lock as '50-50' to recover in time for Saturday's European showpiece battle with Toulon in Cardiff.

Former Ulster boss McCall admitted if Borthwick does not make the Heineken final then he will also miss the Premiership final on May 31.

"He's made some progress actually this week so I suppose we're optimistic, but we'll make a decision towards the end of the week," said McCall on his captain, who trudged out of Saracens' 31-17 Premiership semi-final victory over Harlequins.

"He's got a chance. He hasn't trained yet and there's a few things he's got to do before he's declared fit, but we'll make a firm decision on Thursday.

"We wouldn't play him unless he's proven he can play, functionally he's got to be strong enough to play.

"We wouldn't gamble at all with him. He's got a significant injury to his pectoral muscle."

Gritty skipper Borthwick will end his 16-year top-flight career this summer and McCall conceded he could already have made his final professional appearance.

Toulon talisman Jonny Wilkinson faces a Heineken Cup and French Top 14 dou-ble to close his glittering 17-year career in the coming fortnight.

Given former England fly-half Wilkinson's injuryravaged past, even several weeks ago few would have placed money on Borthwick being the man facing potential heartache.

McCall said 57-cap second row Borthwick has been typically unflustered in battling his pectoral problem.

Springbok Alistair Hargreaves and England's Mouritz Botha would start against Toulon should Borthwick miss out. …

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