The new Premiership Rugby season kicks off on Saturday with the traditional London Double Header at Twickenham and Saracens captain Steve Borthwick is expecting a tough opener.

Last season's table-toppers get things under way against London Irish with Wasps' clash with Harlequins completing the bill.

Borthwick's side finished last season's Premiership on a low after being beaten in the semi-finals by Northampton Saints with Leicester going on to clinch the title.

But the ex-England captain is ready to go this season and is expecting the competition to be as tough as ever this term.

"We are expecting a very tough challenge from London Irish at Twickenham," he told GiveMeSport at the Aviva Premiership launch at Twickenham.

"You don’t get any easy games in Premiership rugby, and it will be a really tough game.

"They’ve developed their squad again, their coaching team has been in place a year longer, and it’s going to be a big challenge.

"It’s one we’re really looking forward to."

Mark McCall's side are being branded by many this season as title favourites especially having added the likes of prop James Johnston and number eight Billy Vunipola to their ranks.

And with this in mind the veteran of 16 Premiership seasons was eager to stress the strength of the competition for the top spots.

"We don’t set goals like that (to win the Premiership). It’s always game-to-game," he said.

"We want to be the best team we possibly can be, and we want to win every game we go in to. It’s as simple as that.

"The league is almost world’s apart from when I first started. You’ve got to look at the levels that every team is pushing now.

"Every game is a tough one, and every team poses a major challenge. The league is as competitive as it’s ever been."

Saracens were dealt a double blow at the end of last season, also losing out on a Heineken Cup final spot when they were knocked out by Toulon in the last four at Twickenham.

This season sees them join Zebre, Connacht and Toulouse in Pool Three of the European competition which starts in October.

And Borthwick is looking for his side to go one step further than they managed last season.

"We want to win it because we want to win every game we play, but it’s game-to-game," he said.

"It’s a fantastic competition to be part of. I think we’ve got a squad that means we can compete with the best, but you’ve got to take each game as it comes.

"We’ve got tough trips to make – Connacht, for example, are a good side. We need to get through our group stage before we start thinking about the knock-out phase, so that’s the first focus."

Saracens' opening Premiership match against London Irish at Twickenham kicks off on Saturday at 1400 with Wasps against Harlequins following at 1630.

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