Six Nations

Barritt on hostile venues

2012-02-02 19:12
Brad Barritt (File)

Bagshot - England new-boy Brad Barritt hopes having played in some of the world's most intimidating grounds will stand him in good stead when he makes his Test debut against Scotland at Murrayfield.

The Durban-born back was one of three new caps named in the first England team of acting head coach Stuart Lancaster on Thursday, along with fellow Saracens centre Owen Farrell, who at 20 is one of the rising stars of the English game.

No matter what the state of the respective sides, Scotland at Murrayfield is always a tough match for England.

Even though they travel to Edinburgh this year as the Six Nations champions, Saturday's match will see England trying to win at Scotland's headquarters for the first time since 2004.

But the 25-year-old Barritt believes he's ready for the challenge, having played in some hostile venues with both South Africa's Sharks and Saracens, with whom he won the English Premiership title last season.

"If I were picking South Africa, it would definitely be playing in Pretoria against the Bulls," Barritt, told reporters at England's training base here on Thursday.

"In European rugby I would say (French side) Clermont which was a great atmosphere but definitely hostile. I would pick those two so far.

"Another one playing in the Super 14 playing against the Waikato Chiefs (in New Zealand) with the guy with the electric handsaw. You have really just got to take it all in and soak up the atmosphere.

"We are expecting a hostile welcome - it is just about performing on the field."

British passport-holder Barritt's inclusion again raises the vexed issue of whether England are sufficiently 'English'.

For example, Saturday's 1st XV features another South Africa-born player in lock Mouritz Botha, with Dylan Hartley, born in New Zealand, at hooker.

Barritt's parents were originally from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and moved to South Africa the year before he was born.

However, his grandparents were from England, with his grandfather representing English Universities.

Lancaster has set great store by 'playing for the shirt' and Barritt insisted the pride he felt at having the red rose on his chest was no different than if he'd been born and brought up in England.

"To pull on a Test jersey is the ultimate for a player, it is something you dream about as a kid. It will be an immensely proud moment for me and my family to represent England," said Barritt, who is set to have several relatives cheering him on from the stands at Murrayfield.

The task of settling into Test rugby for Barritt should be made slightly easier by having three fellow Saracens alongside him in the backs at Murrayfield, with Lancaster recalling flyhalf Charlie Hodgson and wing David Strettle as well as handing a debut to Farrell.

"We are blessed in the squad with 32 really talented individuals and Owen and I are going to make our debuts together," said Barritt, one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premiership.

"Having Charlie and Strets in the backs means it is a great day for Sarries. But if were to be playing with anybody else I would be just as proud and just as content going into the game."

As to whether Farrell can handle the pressure, Barritt was in no doubt.

"I am sure he will take to it like a duck to water. You have seen in the past 18 months that any obstacle that has come his way, he has embraced it and taken on the challenge."

Read more on:    six nations  |  brad barritt

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will win the 2016 Six Nations title?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.