Barritt aiming to finish difficult season on a high in playoffs

Martyn Thomas 07:52 23/05/2015
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  • All patched up: Brad Barritt.

    Brad Barritt believes fate could be on his side on Saturday as he returns from another injury lay-off to aid Saracens in their quest to topple Northampton Saints and reach the Aviva Premiership final.

    Barritt, who was named this week in England’s 50-man World Cup training squad, has not played since his side were beaten by Saints at the end of last month, thanks to a hamstring injury picked up in the build-up to their penultimate regular season game against Exeter.

    That was the latest set-back in a disjointed season that has seen the centre play just 11 league games and miss his country’s entire Six Nations campaign.

    But having been made to watch on anxiously last week as his teammates confirmed their place in the play-offs, Barritt is raring to go as Saracens attempt to halt a run of three consecutive Premiership defeats to Northampton – including last year’s dramatic final.

    “It’s obviously an exciting game to come back for, one that the whole team has been relishing,” he said. “There’s been a sense of excitement and a buzz around the training ground this week.”

    Saints confirmed their place at the top of the table with a game to spare, meaning they were able to rest the majority of their frontline stars last week.

    Saracens found themselves in a similar position last season, also reaching the Heineken Cup final, yet came away with nothing and Barritt believes their underdog status this time could help them.

    He said: “This season has been different for us, myself and the team have had to deal with a lot of injuries along the way but the way the team has obviously scrapped and fought in every situation to get into this play-off, it almost seems like fate that it goes the other way.

    “So, now we’re back to full strength and buzzing, it’s a brilliant one to play for and to see it off with a trophy at the end.”

    Meanwhile, Freddie Burns is fired up and ready to help Leicester’s bid to exorcise memories of arguably the most humiliating day in their 135-year history.

    Burns and his Tigers teammates head back to Bath, just eight months after being swept aside by wave after wave of attacking brilliance from the hosts.

    One of this season’s most one-sided Premiership encounters ended with Leicester suffering a 45-0 defeat.

    “It was quite possibly the worst day I’ve ever had on a rugby pitch,” Burns said. “I’ve never had a game like that where we were as bad as they were brilliant, really.

    “But we have come a long way since then, and the boys are really confident. We’ve got to get down there and believe in ourselves. We are excited at the chance to turn around that performance.”