Steve Borthwick is determined to leave Bath Rugby with the European Challenge Cup in The Recreation Ground trophy cabinet.
Steve Borthwick is determined to leave Bath Rugby at the end of the season on a high - and if it is with the European Challenge Cup safely under lock and key in The Recreation Ground trophy cabinet, all the better.
Bath Rugby have home advantage against Sale Sharks in front of the TV cameras on Saturday in the second of the all-England European Challenge Cup semi-finals.
The Bath Rugby captain and 37-times capped England lock, who also captained his country this season, has already rattled up close to 250 appearances in Bath colours and will join Saracens after hoping to have made it third time lucky for Bath on the European Challenge Cup final stage.
Bath Rugby were beaten in the 2003 final by London Wasps and by ASM Clermont Auvergne in last season's tournament final.
"I would love Bath to win the tournament and for me to be able to leave them with some silverware," he said. "I played in Bath's two previous finals but this is not about me, it is about the group to whom I have an extremely strong attachment and, hopefully, we can go all the way.
"This group has been together for several years and worked very hard in overcoming many challenges and winning trophies would be nothing more than just reward for huge efforts.
"The semi-final gives us a great opportunity to go further in the European Challenge Cup but we know that we have a big challenge in front of us in playing Sale Sharks - in fact it is a formidable challenge.
"The tournament is a high calibre competition - just look at the last four, including two sides from the top end of the Premiership - and I am not at all concerned that we are playing another English club, it is irrelevant.
"We played two French clubs and an Italian side in the Pool stages and now that we are at the sharp end of the competition having four English teams in the semi-finals is a great compliment to the current strength of the English club game.
"Of course it does mean we know each other every well, and we are well aware of the outstanding quality of their players like Charlie Hodgson, Sebastien Chabal and Jason White and that they play the game in a very confrontational manner.
"They attack you with the ball in hand and challenge you defensively all across the pitch and now we are at the business end of the season, when titles are won or lost, and we know Sale will also be really up for the semi-final.
"I have been happy enough with our performances in this season's European Challenge Cup, although we know we can always perform better and we are constantly striving to improve our game in general."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.