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Borthwick boost for Gloucester clash

KICKING INTO TOUCH WITH<br />BRENDAN VENTER<br /><br />THREE games into the season we still have a 100 per cent record, and I would be lying if I said we planned for that kind of start to the campaign. But while it&rsquo;s better to be joint first in the Premiership than sixth, league position is virtually irrelevant after so few games.<br /><br />Yes, we have had three good wins, against Northampton, London Irish and Harlequins, but our opponents on Sunday, Gloucester, will be a different kettle of fish. <br /><br />Their results so far might be patchy but they have good players and might just be waiting to cut loose. We must respect them and play with the same intensity &ndash; or we&rsquo;ll lose.<br /><br /><strong>GOOD NEWS</strong><br />The good news for us is that our captain Steve Borthwick is fit. He injured his rib cartilage last weekend but there is no major damage, and he is willing to strap it up and play through the pain barrier for us. That is a massive boost for the team.<br /><br />Derick Hougaard was excellent against Harlequins, kicking 17 points on his full debut, but Glen Jackson will be back at fly-half this weekend. It&rsquo;s very exciting to have the pair of them and the change is not a selection issue.<br /><br /><strong>SPECIAL VISITOR</strong><br />Meanwhile, we had a special visitor this week when Australia cricket legend Justin Langer came to meet the squad. <br /><br />I invited him to come and speak to us, after having lunch with him a couple of months ago, because I thought we shared very similar outlooks. Justin played in a very successful side and I wanted him to talk about the importance of camaraderie, friendship and respect. They are things I consider important, but I didn&rsquo;t need to prep him.<br /><br />I hope to invite other people to come and speak to the squad, but they won&rsquo;t be just anyone. I will choose people who see things the way we see them, and it would be great to have my countryman and friend Ernie Els over one day.<br /><br />&bull; Brendan Venter is director of rugby at Saracens. Tickets for this week&rsquo;s home game against Gloucester can be purchased by calling 01727 792800.