You were born in Barcelona. Is your family Irish?
Yes. In the late 1980s my parents moved to Spain and my sister and I were born there, but we came back when I was nine.
Was that when you first played rugby?
I didn’t know what it was until I went to Blackrock College, but I got into it really quickly. I can play all across the back row but primarily I’m a No 7.
Who are your mentors?
At school, my coach Frank Macken was a big help. I moved up the ranks with him and I still see him a lot. It was great to learn from Mike Ruddock with Ireland U20 too.
How would you describe your playing style?
I love making tackles and steals and linking with the backs. I definitely consider myself a mobile back-row and a bit of a pain for the other team.
What is your next aim?
I’d love to play in the Heineken Cup. I’ve been in the Leinster squad twice but not got on yet.
What interests do you have outside rugby?
I’m studying for a degree in business and entrepreneurship.
RW Verdict: This Ireland age-group international, now 21, is starting to make his mark in distinguished company at Leinster.
Tell us about your rugby background.
I was born in Torquay and my dad, Dave, took me to Dartmouth minis when I was four. He played prop for them. I moved on to Kingsbridge, then Exeter Chiefs from the age of about ten until I was 17, then joined Gloucester.
What do you like about being a hooker?
I like to be in the mix of things. The head-to-head battle with your opposite number appeals to me.
Who influenced you as you came through?
My dad has been key. Through all the trials and tribulations of being picked and dropped by clubs and England age groups, he’s encouraged me to stick at it.
You turned 20 this year. Did you miss out on normal teenage life?
I don’t think I’ve missed out on a lot. Rugby has kept me on the straight and narrow, when some people I know have ended up in prison. I have a good life.
What has been your favourite Gloucester game so far?
The recent one against Leicester (Gloucester won 27-21 despite going down to 13 men late on). We all worked as a unit towards the end to get the result we wanted. It was by far the best atmosphere I’ve experienced and the noise echoing around the ground made me smile.
What do you do in your spare time?
When I can I like to get back to Devon and go sea-fishing with my dad.
RW Verdict: A Grand Slam winner with England U20, Britton has strength and nerves of steel, as Leicester discovered.
This article appeared in the January 2013 issue of Rugby World Magazine.Like Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.