Six Nations: English rock set to stand firm against French giants

Brad Barritt, one of the unsung heroes of Stuart Lancaster’s England regime, is happy to continue operating under the radar.

The Saracens centre is a players’ player. Opponents and team-mates alike understand exactly why he is such an important cog in the England machine. To 
Barritt that is all that matters.

But England’s defensive captain is beginning to gain the same kind of recognition outside of the red rose squad – just as he prepares for one of his most physical challenges yet.

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Unbeaten England tackle France on Saturday, with Les Bleus expected to unleash the powerful midfield duo of Wesley Fofana and Mathieu Bastareaud on Twickenham.

But those French giants will run into England’s rock. Barritt has made more tackles (104) since his debut against Scotland last year than all other England centres – Owen Farrell, Manu 
Tuilagi, Jonathan Joseph and Billy Twelvetrees – combined.

Offensively, he is not flash but industrious. Welsh midfielder Jonathan Davies is the only centre in world rugby to have carried the ball more times than Barritt (89) since the start of 2012.

“Everyone enjoys a fast attacking game but you can also enjoy grinding out a win and being a pillar of strength – defend and lead from the front. I like to think I’m adaptable and can play what’s in front of me,” Barritt said. “As long as you have the respect of the team and the people you play for, that is what matters. It may take longer for others to see it but you need to be true to yourself and keep working. Eventually, people will see it. You have to ensure you are doing your best for the 
side every day. I’m very satisfied so far.”