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Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Sunday, 25 May 2008 14:56 UK

Emotional Borthwick hails Cup win

Steve Borthwick lifts the European Challenge Cup victory
Borthwick finally lifts a trophy in his final game for his club

Bath lock Steve Borthwick paid tribute to his team-mates after his last game for the club ended with victory in the European Challenge Cup final.

Borthwick gave a man-of-the-match display as his side beat Worcester 24-16 and the lock burst into tears as the Bath players celebrated the win.

"I'm just so happy for the guys who have worked so hard for so many years, and for these fans," he said.

"It's been an honour for me to play with them. It's a great team effort."

He added: "I'm looking forward to what's ahead of me, the next couple of days I will enjoy the time I've had with these boys."

Borthwick, who will lead England on the tour of New Zealand this summer, is not the only high-profile player to be leaving The Rec in the next few weeks.

Olly Barkley is moving to Gloucester and he marked his final match in Bath colours with 11 points against Worcester.

"We've been to so many finals and lost," he said. "The boys dug deep. I think this squad is destined for bigger things and I wish them all the best for the future."

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The trophy is Bath's first since their Heineken Cup triumph in 1998 and they have lost four successive finals in three different competitions since then.

And coach Steve Meehan was clearly relieved that his side have finally ended their trophy drought.

"I'm delighted. It takes all those questions of never having won anything for 10 years out of the equation now," he said.

"We were very disappointed to lose the Premiership semi-final against Wasps last week but to come out and prove a point was fantastic.

"I think over the course of the whole game we made some errors and put ourselves under pressure. I'm pleased the boys didn't go into their shells, they kept going.

"Hopefully we can build on this for next season."

We have got to be proud of our achievement after a difficult start to the season

Worcester boss Mike Ruddock

Worcester's defeat means they miss out on a place in next season's Heineken Cup and the Warriors fans were unhappy with the officiating of referee Christophe Berdos.

Berdos failed to reach for a yellow card on at least three occasions when Bath blatantly infringed but Worcester skipper Pat Sanderson and rugby director Mike Ruddock blamed him for losing the first major final in Warriors' history.

"We might have got a better rub of the green, but you cannot take anything away from Bath," said Sanderson.

"We have got to manage the referee as well, which is something we must learn. Ultimately though, we came up short.

"But I believe Worcester is an exciting place to be, and I am excited about what is going to happen next season. This is a team that really wants to do well."

Worcester finished above both Leeds and Newcastle in the final Premiership table despite not winning a league game until January and Ruddock said he was satisfied with his club's season since then.

"There is a lot of emotion in a cup final and there are a number of talking points, but Bath were more streetwise than us," he said.

"We have got to be proud of our achievement after a difficult start to the season. We have made a lot of progress this season, but we weren't quite there today under the pressures of a final."




see also
Bath secure Challenge Cup glory
25 May 08 |  Rugby Union
Borthwick keeps focus on NZ tour
16 May 08 |  English
Barkley quits Bath for Gloucester
22 Feb 08 |  Gloucester


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