ENGLAND captain Steve Borthwick will make his first start for almost three months when he leads Saracens into battle in their first ever Premiership final on Saturday.
Borthwick has been given the green light to face Leicester at Twickenham by director of rugby Brendan Venter after proving he has recovered from a knee injury.
The inspirational lock could have been forgiven for thinking his season was over when he suffered the problem in England’s Six Nations clash with Scotland.
But instead he is set to return for a final that few tipped Saracens to reach, and Venter insists recalling the 30-year-old was an easy decision.
“It’s fantastic to have such a world-class lock back in the mix,” said the South African.
“Steve will start because he’s trained really well with us. The over-riding thing for me is to get such a special rugby player onto the pitch.
“We’re very happy to have him back and it will be good for the team. It was also for Steve’s sake – it’s not every day you get to a final. It would be crazy not to use him.”
Venter had hoped to have Borthwick available for the last few games of the season.
And although his side showed no sign of missing their skipper, beating Northampton twice and Leicester once in recent weeks, the boss has no qualms at tinkering with a winning formula.
“We wanted him back a little bit earlier,” Venter added. “He had planned to come back for the Leicester game earlier this month and then for Northampton.
“He spoke to me last week and I said if he could train last week at full pace then we would consider him for selection.
“When I sat down with the coaches the over-riding opinion was that it would be wrong not to use a world-class player for the final.”