Brad Barritt lauded Saracens teammate Alex Goode after his late try sealed a historic European and domestic double in Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Rugby final.
Saracens held off a ferocious second-half Exeter Chiefs’ revival to win 28-20 and add a second consecutive league title to their first European Champions Cup triumph, securing a first double by an English club since Wasps in 2004.
Chiefs got to within three points of Saracens with Jack Nowell’s late try, but Aviva Premiership Rugby player of the Season Goode crossed with five minutes remaining to become the first side in six years to retain the league title.
And captain Barritt thinks Goode, who travels Down Under for England’s three-Test tour of Australia this June, is vital to Sarries’ success.
“Alex has been brilliant all season, not just about his play but what he gives off the field too in terms of a leadership role, managing the back-field, speaking to people and putting them in the right place,” the 26-cap international said.
“You see all the brilliant things he does in attack, the way he gets himself in the situations, and he’s come on leaps and bounds and we’re delighted to have him in this team.
“He’s an important cog in the wheel.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to lift two trophies in two weeks. It’s surreal, I’m so pleased for everyone involved with this club. You think of the years when Sarries weren’t there and weren’t getting the rewards, the past six years has been an unbelievable ride.”
Barritt also reserved special praise for director of rugby Mark McCall, who now boasts an unprecedented 100 wins from his 130 games at the Sarries’ helm.
McCall’s side managed to refocus after their first European triumph to beat Leicester Tigers 44-17 in the semi-finals before their final victory and Barritt felt that owed to the influence of McCall and Performance Director Phil Morrow.
He said: “A huge amount of credit has to go to Mark [McCall] and Phil Morrow for keeping us fresh.
“We had one of the highest highs the club has had two weeks ago, but the focus was there on the Monday morning when we started.
“The drive and support that we’ve had has got us brilliantly prepared, but this team is hungrier, the desire has been there.
“We had to show some resilience, it wasn’t a one-horse race, we had to fight for it and earn it and that was the pleasing thing.”
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s kicks off on 22 July with the Final at the Ricoh Arena on 6 August. For tickets and dates click here