|Weight||95kg (14st 13lb)|
A playmaker and vice-captain of the Sharks in his native Natal, Brad Barritt made a vivid impression at the age of 21 before joining Saracens in November 2008 and signing an extended contract in October 2010.
His progress was so rapid that he was called from the 2010 Saxons’ Churchill Cup squad into England’s senior party to Australasia as cover for Dominic Waldouck and made his debut in the non-cap match against New Zealand Maori at Napier in June that year.
Brad’s maiden Test appearance, alongside Owen Farrell, another newcomer, followed in the 13-6 win over Scotland at Murrayfield in February last year and he started every game in the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship, being on the winning side four times. He went on to play twice against South Africa during the summer tour but had missed the second Test after an operation to repair a lacerated eyeball.
The climax to Brad’s four starts in the QBE Internationals last autumn was his maiden Test touchdown against New Zealand at Twickenham. He made a searing break after being put through a gap by Owen Farrell before exchanging passes with Manu Tuilagi and running in a spectacular try. Brad’s staunch tackling and defensive organisation was a vital factor when England beat Ireland 12-6 at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in February. He also excelled against France at Twickenham 13 days later and went on to start every match in the 2013 RBS 6 Nations Championship. Brad was rested for the summer tour of South America.
He had been a regular in the Sharks’ Super 14 and Currie Cup squads since his debut in 2006 with his direct running, physical edge, distribution skills and ability to control games to the fore. The Sharks generously released him from his contract that still had a year to run but they did so in the interests of his own development as a player.
A UK passport holder, Durban-born Brad said: “It was a unique opportunity as a young guy to broaden my horizons.” With periods of time away from home during the Vodacom Super 14 making it almost impossible to study, he arrived at Saracens with an overseas opportunity to finish his Business degree. He added: “My grandparents were born in England and my grandfather played for English Universities.
He scored a try on his full debut in the 37-13 win over Bristol Rugby at Watford in January 2009 when deputising for the now retired former England centre Andy Farrell, made 14 appearances that season and became Saracens Player of the Season in 2009-10. In May 2011, he shared in the 22-18 win over Leicester Tigers that brought the Aviva Premiership title for the first time.
His first Saxons start in a Churchill Cup pool match against the USA at Denver in June 2009 produced a try-scoring outcome – claiming one of the Saxons’ seven in a 56-17 victory. Brad’s previous honours featured the Emerging Springboks, a side he helped to lift the IRB Nations Cup in Bucharest in June 2007.
Brad was scheduled to take a rest in the summer of 2013 but while on holiday in America he answered a call from the British & Irish Lions to join the tour squad in Australia. He played alongside England teammate Billy Twelvetrees at centre in the match against the Brumbies in Canberra.
5 points - 1T
2012 S, It, W, F, I, SA (1,3R), Fj, A, SA, NZ 2013 S, I, F, It, W
Last updated: August 19, 2013