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Wray hails Saracens’ record-breaking captain Borthwick

08:30 17 April 2014

Saracens captain Steve Borthwick

Saracens captain Steve Borthwick

PA Archive/Press Association Images

EXCLUSIVE: Jackson Wray has hailed Saracens’ record-breaking captain Steve Borthwick as an ideal role model for all young rugby players.

Saracens' Jackson Wray is tackled by Northampton Saints' Samu Manoa at Allianz ParkSaracens' Jackson Wray is tackled by Northampton Saints' Samu Manoa at Allianz Park

Borthwick made his 263rd Premiership appearance on Saturday, setting a new top-flight record as he skippered Sarries to a 28-24 win over Northampton Saints in the top-of-the-table clash at Allianz Park.

And back row ace Wray has hailed the impact that the 34-year-old lock, who is retiring at the end of the season, has had on his career.

“He’s been a massive part of my development in terms of the way I approach the game, what I do off the pitch and the discipline that it takes to make it to that level,” said Wray.

“He’s been at the top of his game for a long time. He’s still pushing his body right now and the stats that have come out – that he’s played 5,000 more minutes than any other player in the history of the Premiership – it doesn’t surprise me with what he does off the pitch.

“He [Borthwick] is one of the best professionals I’ve played with. I’ll be taking some of the things he’s been doing and the advice he’s given me in the past and hopefully I can play as long as he has. He’s the ideal role model for rugby players.”

Sunday’s win over Saints gives Sarries a 10-point cushion at the top of the Premiership, securing a play-off spot with three league games to go – and victory at Newcastle Falcons on Easter Sunday would assure Saracens of a home semi-final.

Wray was born in nearby Sunderland and he is looking forward to having some friends and family watch him play. He said: “It’s always nice playing up there and having people coming to watch.

“It’s a bit out of the way in terms of the rugby world. It’s nice to let those guys come and watch the team play.

“It’s always nice to go back up there and play. Newcastle has a passionate crowd and they get behind their team.”

Following the game at Newcastle, Saracens host Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup semi-finals at Twickenham on April 26.

“People are playing for places,” said Wray. “You want to perform every week to put yourself into that window.

“People will want to secure places in that game. Competition is high. Most of the team will be out there trying to put their name into selection. There is one eye on it but we want to secure that home semi-final.”

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