Success boosts Borthwick
Former England skipper admits Premiership run has helped him deal with international decline
Last Updated: 26/05/11 5:28pm
Borthwick: Doesn't think about England when playing for Sarries
Steve Borthwick might have fallen out of favour with England but the former captain admits the pain has been eased by the success he has enjoyed with Saracens this season.
The 31-year-old has slipped right down the pecking order for selection by Martin Johnson having lost his place in the England set-up last season, initially through injury.
Borthwick no longer even features in England's senior elite squad since the likes of Tom Palmer, Courtney Lawes, Louis Deacon and Dave Attwood have gained prominence.
Even so, he remains a key figure for Sarries and will be looking to inspire them to Aviva Premiership success on Saturday when they take on Leicester in the final at Twickenham.
"Every player wants international recognition and we have many players here who deserve it," said Borthwick, who won 57 caps over a nine-year England career.
"Do you think about England when you are playing for Saracens? No. All you think about is being the best you can be and to play as well as you can to help your team-mates.
"It is hugely enjoyable to be part of this group. From the top down the club has created an atmosphere where each player is supported to be the best they can be.
"We have some excellent coaches and a group of players here who are diverse and we have plenty of characters but we are a really tight, close-knit group.
"There is a fantastic spirit. We have created some great memories and we will be giving our maximum effort on Saturday to get the win."
The two sides meet in the Premiership final for the second successive year - the Twickenham showpiece being settled in the Tigers' favour 12 months ago when Dan Hipkiss scored a dramatic last-gasp try.
Saracens head into this year's final on the back of 12 consecutive victories, with both Borthwick and director of rugby Mark McCall of the opinion they are a much stronger outfit now.
"We think we are a better team than we were this time last year," said McCall, who took charge midway through the season when Brendan Venter returned to South Africa.
"After we beat Northampton in the semi-final last year there was a sense of jubilation that we were in the final. This year there seems to be a different sense."
Borthwick added: "The experiences we have had - good and bad - have strengthened us. We have pushed on."