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Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame: Steve Borthwick

Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame: Steve Borthwick

Steve Borthwick is not a man who craves the limelight – far from it.

But ask any player who has played with, or under, the former Bath, Saracens and England captain and now world-class coach – and they will tell you his induction into the Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame is long overdue.

Indeed, Borthwick stands clear of every player in English rugby history as the most capped Premiership Rugby player of all time.

His 265 appearances cover a career from 1998-2014, while he also managed to pack in 57 England caps in that time and lead the Red Rose 21 times.

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Since hanging up his boots, Borthwick has already catapulted himself to the top of the coaching tree after impressive spells with Japan, England and latterly the British & Irish Lions.

That he has taken to coaching like a duck to water will surprise no-one after a playing career that was studious to say the least.

Famous for getting the most out of his game, Borthwick has long been a student of the game ever since lining out for Preston Grasshoppers as a teenager.

The Cumbrian-born lock was soon snapped up by Bath and made his debut for them in December 1998 against Saracens.

In the West Country, Borthwick formed one of the most feared lock pairings in Premiership history alongside Danny Grewcock.

Renowned for lineout expertise, Borthwick captained Bath to the Premiership Rugby Final in 2004 and the European Challenge Cup crown in 2008 – his final game at the club – while also graduating from the University of Bath in 2003 with a degree in Economics with Politics.

On the international scene, Borthwick won his first cap for England against France in 2001 but missed out on a spot in Clive Woodward’s 2003 World Cup winning squad.

However, he was part of the squad that finished runners-up in 2007, appearing three times during the tournament.

A year later, Borthwick was appointed skipper of the Red Rose and led England with aplomb through what was, at times, a difficult period for the national side.

His final game in international colours came in 2010 under Martin Johnson but his club career with Saracens continued to go from strength to strength.

The move to Saracens in 2008 came when Eddie Jones was at the helm – the duo have since been reunited both with Japan and now England – and it reinvigorated the lock.

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Starting as co-captain with Andy Farrell before taking over the role himself, Borthwick led Saracens from nearly men to the European powerhouses that we now know.

They won the Premiership Rugby crown in 2011, made it to the knockout stages of Europe every year from 2012 until his retirement – including a runners-up finish to Toulon in 2014 – and laid the foundation for the dominant side to come.

That his final game in a Saracens shirt was an Aviva Premiership Rugby Final defeat to Northampton Saints was probably not what he deserved, but by then his coaching career was already taking off.

He and Jones inspired Japan to upset the rugby world at the 2015 Rugby World Cup with their Pool stage win over South Africa.

And with England, they led them on a run of 17 consecutive victories over Tier-One nations, tying the All Blacks’ record.

And most recently Borthwick took charge of the forwards on the Lions Tour this past summer as the tourists claimed an enthralling 1-1 Test series draw with the world champions.

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