Steve Borthwick not getting ahead of himself in Leicester’s title bid

The Tigers were almost relegated two years ago but face Northampton in the play-off semi-finals on Saturday

Steve Borthwick helped Leicester finish top of the Premiership table for the first time since 2011 (Isaac Parkin/PA)
Steve Borthwick helped Leicester finish top of the Premiership table for the first time since 2011 (Isaac Parkin/PA)

Steve Borthwick insists Leicester are “still very early in the journey” as his table-topping side seek to cap a remarkable turnaround with Premiership glory.

The Tigers were in dire straits just two years ago and only spared relegation due to Saracens’ hefty points deduction.

Head coach Borthwick arrived at Welford Road shortly afterwards and this season masterminded the club’s first top-placed finish since 2011 to set up Saturday’s play-off semi-final at home to local rivals Northampton.

The former England forwards coach says focusing on the present has been key to the ongoing revival.

“I don’t look back very often and I don’t look too far forward,” said the 42-year-old.

“The only week that matters is the week you’re in and I know that mantra can sometimes seem a bit trite or tedious but for me it’s what we’ve done.

“Clearly I’ve got an eye on the bigger picture, I’ve got an eye on where we’re trying to head to and clearly there is a plan.

“But when we’re in a week, all that matters is that week, all that matters is that game and let’s try and get better for that game.

“There is plenty for us to improve upon. We’re still very early in the journey.”

Leicester edged Wasps on Saturday to secure top spot and finish with a 100 per cent home record in the league.

Steve Borthwick was appointed Leicester head coach in 2020 (Mike Egerton/PA)

The 10-time Premiership champions will bid to continue that run in this weekend’s tantalising East Midlands derby with Saints, with Saracens or Harlequins awaiting the winners at Twickenham on June 18.

“You’re talking about a club here that very nearly got relegated two years ago,” continued Borthwick.

“A club that wasn’t really respected, was losing most games and the only big games we were involved in were relegation contests.

“To come back from that, every game is important, every week is important. Can we get better every week? And that’s the challenge again this week.

“One of the exciting things is there is so much more for us to do and so much more we as a coaching team and players can work towards here.

“The team has a lot of growth in it, it’s a young team, and it’s learning quickly from experiences.”

Captain Ellis Genge is preparing for his final game at Welford Road as a Leicester player before re-joining former club Bristol.

The England prop vowed to “empty the tank” for the Tigers fans and stressed the importance of controlling emotions ahead of the big occasion.

Ellis Genge will move back to Bristol this summer (David Davies/PA)

“You’ve got to beat the drum when the time is right, you don’t want to do it early in the week because you’ve got to get your detail down first,” said Genge.

“If you start going nuts and spitting flames then you’re not going to learn much during the week so you’ve got to wait till Friday, Saturday for the ‘Any Given Sunday’ speeches.

“But there’s a time and place for them and they’ll definitely come.

“I just want to completely empty the tank for the supporters who have been there throughout.”

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