Barritt wants Saracens to start with a bang

Fri, 26 Aug 2016 13:00
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INTERVIEW: Saracens swept all before them last season, but Premiership-winning captain Brad Barritt insists the English champions are working like underdogs.

Mark McCall's side were the most dominant in Europe last year and England centre Barritt held both the Premiership and Champions Cup trophies aloft, captaining the North London side to unprecedented success.

And though they have lost Jacques Burger, Ernst Joubert and Charlie Hodgson, they have retained a key core of young internationals - including Mako and Billy Vunipola, Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell and George Kruis.

Despite that continuity, Barritt insists his superstars are constantly reminded of how their success was built, grafting to ensure they remain on top when they kick off their Premiership season off against Worcester Warriors at the London Double Header.

"We wipe the slate clean, everyone starts from scratch at this point in the season and we know we are going to have to work equally hard if not more to be successful again," the 26-cap centre said at yesterday's Premiership launch at Twickenham.

"Things don't just happen and resting on your laurels doesn't get you anywhere. We have got very experienced squad, guys who are motivated and who want to succeed.

"We are fortunate that we have a coaching staff who are driving us hard, hopefully we can start the season off with a bang.

"Having been Premiership champions last season we definitely have a target on our backs. It is now as competitive as it has ever been, if you look across the 12 squads and the players and experience that each squad has shows that on their day anyone can beat anyone."

With 86-cap South Africa World Cup winner Schalk Burger arriving at Allianz Park earlier in the summer and England's Test heroes from Australia linking back up with their club, Barritt insists the mood in camp is brimming with excitement.

"Schalk has been a fantastic addition, he is a brilliant player and more importantly a great guy," he said.

"His personality among the younger guys has been inspiring and I think he is also looking forward to pulling on that Saracens shirt.

"The return of the England boys has been great, both the guys who have come back from tours and some new fresh faces to the squad.

"They have brought something new into that environment. We know that our culture and the way we interact with people is vital to what we do, we know that hard work and these relationships build strong rugby teams.

"The way we have interacted over the past five weeks has been great and now everybody is very eager to kick start the season."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
RESULT SCORE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
UWC v Rhodes 88 | 8
TUT v WSU 13 | 17
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
Sun, 19 February 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 46 | 31
Sale Sharks v Wasps 34 | 28
Sat, 18 February 2017
Connacht v Dragons 14 | 9
Ospreys v Munster 23 | 25
Leicester Tigers v Bristol 50 | 17
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 37 | 17
Bath v Harlequins 22 | 12
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 15 11 1 3 55
Saracens 15 10 1 4 49
Exeter Chiefs 15 8 3 4 49
Bath 15 10 0 5 47
Leicester Tigers 15 9 0 6 43
Harlequins 15 8 0 7 37
Newcastle Falcons 15 7 0 8 36
Northampton Saints 15 7 0 8 35
Gloucester 15 5 2 8 34
Sale Sharks 15 5 1 9 29
Worcester Warriors 15 3 2 10 19
Bristol 15 2 0 13 13