The Rugby Club: Can Saracens match the power of Toulon's scrum?

Last Updated: 23/05/14 10:48am

Jonny Wilkinson is not the only English player wanting to bow out on a high as Saracens skipper Steve Borthwick will be desperate to shrug off his pectoral injury and lead his side to their first Heineken Cup title before he retires at the end of the season.

Borthwick has played a huge part in Saracens development and Phil Vickery believes that the unsung hero deserves to end his career on a high.

"I genuinely feel privileged to have played with Steve," said Vickery on the Rugby Club.

"He has a tremendous work ethic and has a great understanding of the game -particularly the lineout strategy. But I don't just want to put him in that box of just a lineout guru - he is more than that and I think he understands the game brilliantly.

"I think the way he was treated by England was an absolute travesty. I really do. The trouble with Steve is that he is too honest - if you ask him to do something he will do it. I think he will be the toughest person to replace at Saracens next year because for me he is the focal point of why they are so good. He leads by example and it will be interesting to see what happens next year."

Kyran Bracken believes that Saracens are in the best form he has ever seen them in and says that Toulon hold no fear for the wolf pack.

"Saracens are in really good shape. I think against Clermont they played their best game I have ever seen them play," said the former Sarries No 10.

"I think they will relish going to Cardiff and play against a French side. They will relish charging down Jonny Wilkinson and closing him down. They have got to get the selection right and the basics right for this game - if they do then that wolf pack mentality will come through."

Bringing the power

Prop Mako Vunipola looks certain to be the man selected to take on Carl Hayman and former prop Vickery believes he is up for the job.

"I think Vunipola can hold Hayman - he used to get quite high in the hips and be quite lazy but they have definitely worked on that. They have been working on his height and scrum time and his hips are lower. That power that we see in his running game he is translating more of that into the scrum."

Stuart Barnes however is not so sure: "I have watched Mako Vunipola over the years and he has improved greatly. Carl Hayman may not be the force he once was but I call Vunipola television propping - everyone likes a prop who carries! But when you are on the park you want your prop to either destroy them or give you a stable platform."