Borthwick turns to Bulls for inspiration
January 22, 2013
Steve Borthwick on the charge for Saracens against Edinburgh on Sunday © Getty Images
Saracens lock Steve Borthwick has travelled to South Africa for a week to pick the brains of the Bulls coaches and players as he starts to put the building blocks in place for his post-rugby career.
Borthwick is widely regarded as one of the Aviva Premiership's best ever lineout technicians and has captained England in the past. But with Sarries keen on pushing the boundaries both on and off the field, as shown through the recent unveiling of their new stadium complete with artificial pitch, Borthwick has travelled to South Africa to link up with the Bulls for a week.
One of South Africa's greatest player's, second-row Victor Matfield, Tweeted on Tuesday that he had enjoyed meeting the Saracens skipper and exchanging ideas and Borthwick is keen to reap the benefits from his trip to Pretoria.
"I was given the week off by Saracens opportunity came up to come here, and the Blue Bulls have very kindly allowed me to come and observe. To learn and see how I can improve," Borthwick told Supersport. "I've been given the opportunity to observe every team that is training. Everybody has been very welcome here and very open so I'm hopefully I'm going to learn.
"While I am still a player right now, it is very important for me to continue my education as a coach, so that I can be in a strong position when I retire. I've been assisting with the Saracens academy and taking on whatever opportunities I can to learn. It's a great opportunity for me to take the time to watch top quality coaches at the Bulls and to learn from them.
"Right now I'm a player and I want to be the best player and leader for Saracens that I can be so that we can achieve what we aspire to. What is important, is when opportunities present themselves to learn and develop, to experience other things, is to take those things."
The news sees Saracens strengthen their links with the Bulls. Last year Jono Ross played for the Premiership side for six months but has now returned to Pretoria. Saracens also have various South African players on their books such as Alastair Hargreaves and John Smit and Borthwick has been impressed with the Springbok contingent.
"The players have come over very well. Brad Barritt, who has gone on to play for England and the likes of Schalk Brits, Ernst Joubert and several others who have been excellent. So the links are strong, and clearly not on the playing front, but also on coaching with Brendan Venter there as well."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September