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Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Tuesday, 25 May 2010 12:04 UK

England skipper Steve Borthwick fit to start final

PREMIERSHIP FINAL - Leicester v Saracens
Venue: Twickenham, London Date: Saturday, 29 May Kick-off: 1730 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on 5 live sports extra, live on Sky Sports; updates on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sport website & mobiles

Saracens skipper Steve Borthwick
Borthwick's return will be a major boost for Saracens

England skipper Steve Borthwick will start Saturday's Premiership final for Saracens against Leicester.

The 30-year-old lock has been out of action since March when he aggravated a knee injury playing for England in the Six Nations match against Scotland.

The problem led to him being left out of the England squad to tour Australia and New Zealand this summer.

However, Ernst Joubert will retain the captaincy as Sarries attempt to win the Premiership title for the first time.

Borthwick aggravated the long-standing "wear and tear" problem in his left knee during England's 15-15 draw with Scotland, an injury which forced him to miss the climax to the Premiership season.

Despite his absence, Saracens finished third in the table and reached their first Premiership final with a 21-19 victory over Northampton in their semi-final play-off last week.

"It's fantastic to have a world-class lock back in the squad and he will start the match," said rugby director Brendan Venter.


"He's been training really well and the over-riding thing for me is to get such a special rugby player onto the pitch. We're very happy to have him back."

Number eight Joubert said the decision to retain him as captain had been made by himself, Borthwick and Venter and called Borthwick's decision to step aside "humble and brave".

"It's so amazing to have him back, he is brilliant in the line-out and has experience," said Joubert, who joined from South African franchise the Lions before the start of the season.

"We spoke about it together and Brendan and Steve eventually decided it would be better to keep me as captain to keep a little bit more consistency going."

The build-up to the final has been overshadowed by the 14-week touchline ban handed to Venter last week by the Rugby Football Union.

The South African, who took over last summer, was found guilty of "making provocative and inappropriate gestures" during Saracens' win against Leicester at Welford Road at the start of May.

The suspension means he can have no contact with his team during the Premiership final, although he believes he will still be able to attend the game, and his appeal against the sanction will be heard on Wednesday.

"I'll be at the stadium - I can't imagine they won't let me into the stadium," he added.

"We'll solve this problem when it comes at the appeal."

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see also
Venter to miss Premiership final
26 May 10 |  Saracens
Newby cleared to appear in final
25 May 10 |  Leicester
Saracens and RFU row over Venter
21 May 10 |  Saracens
Northampton 19-21 Saracens
16 May 10 |  English
Moody takes over from Borthwick
19 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union
Borthwick keeps England captaincy
25 Jan 10 |  English

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