SARACENS boss Brendan Venter is convinced Steve Borthwick and Matt Stevens will force their way back into the England squad for next year’s World Cup.
Injury-hit Borthwick has gone from skipper to wilderness in the space of six months, while Stevens, owing to a drug ban, is not even permitted to play again until January.
But Venter is backing both to enjoy outstanding returns to form this season and convince England manager Martin Johnson that he needs them in his squad for the tournament in New Zealand next autumn.
“I can most definitely see Matt getting an England recall for the World Cup. I’d be surprised if someone of his quality didn’t get himself into the England set-up,” the Saracens director of rugby told City A.M.
Of Borthwick, he added: “He’ll be back and he’ll be on fire. I think he’ll definitely get back in.
“What’s going to happen is before the World Cup Martin is going to look at the stats and say, ‘you win it with senior people on form’.
“And Steve and Matt are both two senior guys – and they will be on form. That’s why I’m so sure that they’ll both be selected in the end. You do not win a World Cup with children.”
A series of injuries saw Borthwick, 30, miss the end of the Six Nations and the summer tour of Australasia before Johnson left the experienced lock out of his 32-man Elite Performance Squad.
But Venter does not believe his skipper has been treated harshly by England chiefs. He added: “He had a long-term injury. So at that stage I think it was the right thing for Martin Johnson to do. And if Steve plays well the right thing will be to put him back in.”
Read the full exclusive, in-depth interview with Brendan Venter in Friday’s City A.M.