THE SOUTH Africa-born centre’s importance was recently highlighted by his absence. Injured for Saracens’ end-of-season play-offs they missed his defensive solidity in midfield and failed to collect any silverware. He’s been a regular in Stuart Lancaster’s England squad, proving extremely reliable in the centre.
As the number of backs struggling with niggles increased, the Lions coaches wanted to be prepared for all eventualities. Andy Farrell is a big fan of Barritt and his rock-solid defence so his holiday in America was cut short!
With the centres on the mend and Jamie Roberts the only doubt for the first Test, he’s unlikely to be involved against Australia, especially as they’re likely to opt for more versatility and creativity on the bench.
England’s win in Dublin this year. It wasn’t a day for all-out attack – the rain making sure of that – and that suited Barritt perfectly. He led the defensive line, making seven tackles and missing none, and kept the Ireland backs in check.
IF HE WERE A FOOD
Corn flakes – a traditional, solid base.
Age 26 (7 August 1986)
Born Durban, SA
Dimensions 6ft 1in & 14st 13lb
Test caps 16
Test points Five (one try)
Every 2013 Lions player is profiled in the July edition of Rugby World, with Lions legend Sir Ian McGeechan giving his verdict on each member of the squad. It’s on sale now.