Heineken Cup final: Saracens captain Steve Borthwick passed fit

Steve Borthwick

Heineken Cup final

Millennium Stadium
Saturday, 24 May
17:00 BST
Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and online; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Steve Borthwick will be fit to captain Saracens against Toulon in Cardiff on Saturday as the Londoners bid to win their first Heineken Cup in the tournament's last final.

Jonny Wilkinson, 34, will lead Toulon, with both ex-England captains playing the penultimate games of their careers.

Richard Wigglesworth replaces Neil de Kock at scrum-half for Saracens.

Toulon make one change to the XV that beat Munster in the last four as lock Bakkies Botha replaces Jocelino Suta.

Saracens second row Borthwick, 34, was taken off in Saturday's Premiership play-off victory over Harlequins with a chest injury and had been rated "50-50" for the match.

After 19 years as Europe's premier club competition the Heineken Cup is coming to an end, with the European Rugby Champions Cup replacing it next season.

Saracens are bidding to follow in the footsteps of Bath, Northampton, Leicester and Wasps and become the fifth English winners, while Toulon are aiming to become just the third team to win the title two years in a row after Leicester (2001 and 2002) and Leinster (2011 and 2012).

Toulon beat Saracens in the semi-finals last year but the Londoners' boss, Mark McCall, believes they are a better side than they were 12 months ago.

"We've changed and evolved," he insisted.

"We made a lot of mistakes in our half against them last year. Six of their penalties came from when we were in possession of the ball and we have to be better than that.

"I think we're much better collectively now."

Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell said last year's match "feels like a long time ago".

"Since then, we've changed the way we play a little bit, especially attacking-wise, and I think we've become more mature and confident in what we do," he added.

Saracens are the leading try scorers in the tournament this season with 37 - winger Chris Ashton has already set a new individual record of 11 - but it is their 'Wolf Pack' defence that underpins their game-plan.

"It's called the 'Wolf Pack' because wolves hunt better in packs," Farrell explained.

"The strength of the wolf is in the pack and the strength of the pack is in the wolf. That's definitely what it comes down to when we talk about our defence and how we operate as a team."

Sarries are also in next weekend's Premiership final, while Toulon's Wilkinson will be hoping to sign off from a stellar career with victory in the French Top 14 final against Castres.

Toulon: D Armitage; D Mitchell, M Bastareaud, M Giteau, B Habana; J Wilkinson (capt), S Tillous-Borde; X Chiocci, C Burden, C Hayman, B Botha, D Rossouw, J Smith, J M Fernandez Lobbe, S Armitage.

Replacements: J-C Orioli, A Menini, M Castrogiovanni, A Williams, V Bruni, M Mermoz, M Claassens, J Suta.

Saracens: A Goode; C Ashton, M Bosch, B Barritt, D Strettle; O Farrell, R Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, S Brits, M Stevens, S Borthwick (capt), A Hargreaves, K Brown, J Burger, B Vunipola.

Replacements: J George, R Barrington, J Johnston, M Botha, J Wray, N de Kock, C Hodgson, C Wyles.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland).

Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales) and George Clancy (Ireland).

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