Borthwick boost for England
England captain Steve Borthwick will be fit for the autumn internationals despite suffering sprained rib cartilage.
Last Updated: 21/09/09 6:39pm
England captain Steve Borthwick will be fit for the autumn internationals despite a rib injury.
Borthwick has been diagnosed with a sprained rib cartilage, which could rule him out of Saracens' Guinness Premiership clash Gloucester on September 27 but is not a long-term problem.
The lock suffered the injury in Saracens' game against Harlequins on September 19 but he refused to be substituted until the victory had been assured.
The news will come as a relief to England manager Martin Johnson, who has already lost inside centre Riki Flutey and full-back Delon Armitage to shoulder injuries.
Borthwick has started the season in impressive form and Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter outlined at the weekend how big a loss he would have been to both club and country if the injury had proven more serious.
"He is playing really well, which is fantastic for England. He is a serious world-class international lock," said Venter.
"If you talk about a disciplined, honest, hard-working individual then Steve Borthwick fits that bill 100 percent. I have been very blessed to have a captain like that.
"In our first two games this season Steve had the most contributions and the second most contributions. We measure everything - tackles, ball carries, his rucking, his defensive play - and he is right at the top of our team."
England's first autumn Test is against Australia on November 7, followed by Argentina and New Zealand on consecutive weekends.
Borthwick has captained England in every Test since the 2008 summer tour to New Zealand and Johnson will be relieved not to have to make a change.
Venter added: "Saracens and England supporters can relax.
"It's not a serious problem and it certainly won't stop Steve from being available for the Investec Challenge internationals."