Borthwick good to go for international clashes
October 13, 2009
England and Saracens lock Steve Borthwick jokes with the media at Monday's launch of the Rugby Players' Association © Getty Images
England captain Steve Borthwick has revealed how he feared the worst after being kicked in the eye by Gloucester hooker Olivier Azam.
The Saracens lock suffered the scare during his side's Guinness Premiership clash with their West Country rivals last month and although he was cleared of serious injury he admitted he suffered a "nervous" few hours as doctors carried out tests on his eyeball and his eye-socket at Moorfields Eye Hospital.
Azam was subsequently suspended for 12 weeks after pleading guilty to kicking an opponent but he has lodged an appeal, which will be heard tomorrow night. Borthwick's eye is still bloodshot but he is desperate to be back in action and will play for Saracens in Thursday night's European Challenge Cup trip to Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon.
"I am good to go. It has healed really well," said Borthwick. "It was a nervous time. The eye swelled shut immediately so I couldn't see anything and it had taken a bang so it was numb and I couldn't feel anything.
"I was very alarmed by it. I spent that night in hospital and they told me as early as possible that everything was okay. They said the eyeball itself was healthy but they had surgery booked for the next day because they were 95% certain I had a fracture.
"Thankfully the next morning when they did more tests they said there was no fracture and that the eye just needed to heal. It took several days to open up but I have got my vision back and as a rugby player I am desperate to play rugby so I am really looking forward to getting back involved later this week."
Borthwick fired some choice words to Azam as he left the field at Vicarage Road after the incident. The pair have "spoken briefly" since then but Borthwick would not comment further because of the Frenchman's pending appeal.
The original disciplinary panel accepted Azam's claim that he had lashed out with his right leg in an attempt to free his left ankle, which was being twisted at the bottom of a ruck.
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9