Saracens back Borthwick's 'dedicated' leadership

Steve Borthwick, the England captain, has been given a ringing endorsement by the Saracens coach Paul Gustard ahead of his return to the side at Worcester tonight.

Borthwick came in for criticism following England's dismal autumn Test series and there were some calls for him to be stripped of the captaincy and even removed from the side altogether. The lock is back in action for Saracens at Sixways when they will be seeking to maintain their 100 per cent start to the season with a ninth successive Guinness Premiership win.

Gustard said: "Having Steve Borthwick back in the side is fantastic. I've been lucky enough to play with some great captains in my career, but his leadership, commitment and dedication are second to none and it's great to have him back in the side."

Worcester are unchanged and their director of rugby Mike Ruddock has admitted his struggling team face a stern test against the Premiership leaders. "They are undefeated and very difficult to break down," he said "They are not only top of the league but they have also beaten the world champions, South Africa, so it doesn't get much bigger than this."

Sale have recalled Mathew Tait to their starting line-up for the visit of Wasps but Welsh centre Lee Thomas could miss out due to a hamstring problem. Newcastle have brought back Tom Biggs as they take on Northampton at home looking for a fourth successive Premiership victory.

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