Relentless Barritt already has his sights set on a sixth Gallagher Premiership Rugby title
Saracens’ battered and bruised captain Brad Barritt insists it will be an even tougher task for his team to retain their titles next year.
The 32-year-old stalwart battled through a torn hamstring to play the first half of Saracens’ phenomenal Gallagher Premiership Final win over Exeter Chiefs in a display of true grit and determination.
For over a decade now, the Durban-born skipper has epitomised the values of being a Saracens player and despite all the success and trophies, believes the failures his side have experienced along the way have helped shape their current character.
Barritt will be able to recuperate over the summer in the knowledge that he and his teammates are domestic and European champions once more but come next season, he won’t be resting on any laurels as he goes in search of a sixth top-flight crown.
“I think we have proved we are not a flash in the pan. That desire is built in us, season upon season. Next season will be harder than this year,” he said.
“You never take anything for granted. That has been the build-up for the last few weeks.
“The moment you do, you don’t get there again. We have had the hurt. We have been where Exeter have been.
“We won a Premiership in 2011 and it took us three years to get to another one.
“We lost a semi-final in 2012. In 2013, we lost a final in Europe and then to Northampton in extra-time, so it has not been a quick journey to success.
“We have done it the hard way. It is those moments which test our character and to get back to the places you want to be takes fight. It takes character.”
My inspiration 💕
— Brad Barritt (@bradbarritt) 2 June 2019
Saracens looked dead and buried with 20 minutes left on the clock at Twickenham but overturned an 11-point deficit to claim their second European and domestic double in three years.
Veteran winger David Strettle returned to Allianz Park last January from a three-year stay in Clermont to claim two winners’ medals in his final season as a professional and Barritt paid tribute to the quality of the Saracens squad from top to bottom.
However, attitude is just as important as personnel according to the bruising centre – you can be as talented as Welsh wizard Liam Williams but without the right mental focus, you won’t be a teammate of Barritt’s.
“If you don’t have that drive and belief, ultimately, you won’t be part of Saracens. We are always in transition. There are very few guys who have been there since the beginning,” he added.
“Ultimately, every year is a fresh challenge and guys like Stretts [Strettle] come back and he wins the double.
“Liam Williams has only been here for two years. There is a flux of energy when a new guy comes in and it does not take long to teach them the reigns and show what it takes to be a Saracens player.
“The best thing for me pre-game was when I spoke to the guys and said: ‘what makes me so proud is, regardless of getting to a final or not, I am in a squad with 22 other guys who I know will give their all’.
“That is regardless of the situation. Even if it’s an international break and we are missing 12 guys and we are away at Leicester blooding 12 guys, I know that whoever is in that 23 on the day are going to put their heart and soul into it.”