Wigglesworth to become appearance record holder in Premiership

England international Richard Wigglesworth will break the record for most Premiership Rugby appearances this weekend when he runs out for Saracens.

England international Richard Wigglesworth will break the record for most Premiership Rugby appearances this weekend when he runs out for Saracens.

The scrum-half has been named in the starting XV to face Gloucester on Sunday at Allianz Park, where he is set to make his 266th appearance in the competition.

If all goes to plan, Wigglesworth will surpass his former captain and current England coach Steve Borthwick as the all-time Premiership appearance-maker.

Wigglesworth, who made his league debut for Sale Sharks against Bath in 2002, currently sits joint top alongside Borthwick, with the pair having played in 265 top flight games each.

But the 35-year-old is expected to take sole ownership of top spot against Gloucester when he makes his 153rd appearance for the reigning Premiership champions.

Premiership Rugby director Phil Winstanley said: “This weekend, Wiggy will get many plaudits from across the game and all will be fully deserved.

“Since bursting on the scene with Sale Sharks and helping them to his first title in 2006, Wiggy has been the consummate professional and 266 games and counting is testament to that.

“He’s a great tactician and a great leader and to still be competing for an England shirt in the last Six Nations shows that he’s still at the top of his game.

“He already holds the record for the most Premiership Rugby titles and I’m sure that he has no intention of stopping at 266 appearances.”

It will be the second time Wigglesworth has entered the record books this year, having become the first player to win five Premiership Rugby finals at Twickenham in May.

As a football-obsessed child, he was first introduced to rugby by his father and his first taste of union came at school when he was aged 11 before he went on to play for Fylde RFC.

He started his professional career with Sale Sharks after coming through the junior ranks, cementing his place in the first team in the 2003-04 season and making his first appearance in the nine shirt.

Wigglesworth went on to win the first of his five Premiership titles two years later, starting in the 2005-06 final as Sale were crowned champions at the Home of England Rugby.

His performances in the domestic game resulted in a call-up to the England squad for the 2008 Six Nations, where he made his Test debut against Italy in Rome.

But it was against France in Paris where Wigglesworth made his first significant impact on the international stage, scoring a match-winning try as England won 24-13.

Saracens came calling in 2010 and his debut season at Vicarage Road saw Wigglesworth add another domestic title to his trophy cabinet as the men in black won the Premiership for the first time.

He repeated the feat with the club in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns before sealing his record-breaking fifth title this year against Exeter Chiefs in the showpiece final.

Wigglesworth also went on to feature in the 2015 Rugby World Cup for England before returning to the international fold earlier this year in the Six Nations Championship.

And on breaking the record, Wigglesworth said: “I remember Steve getting this record when he was my captain and I thought how good that was and how consistent and durable he had been.

“A few years ago, I looked at how many games I was on and realised if I could play well and stay in a good team like Saracens, I could get the record and take it to a place that’s quite a few more.”

Wigglesworth will not be alone in celebrating a milestone this weekend, with his Saracens and England team-mate Jamie George also set to make his 200th appearance for the club.