Six Nations 2013: Resilience will give England edge over Wales says Brad Barritt
The sides meet in Cardiff on Saturday in title showdown
Wednesday 13 March 2013
Brad Barritt believes England's resilience will give them the edge if Saturday's Grand Slam decider against Wales goes down to the wire.
Twelve months ago, it was Wales who edged a 19-12 thriller at Twickenham en route to claiming a third Grand Slam in eight years.
But Barritt is convinced England would win that game now because of the character and resolve that has been forged in the team over the last year.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster calls it their "warrior spirit" and England have often been at their best when called on to battle through adversity.
And Barritt expects those qualities to be vital against a Wales side aiming to retain their RBS 6 Nations title in the Millennium Stadium cauldron.
"That resilience and the ability to win when things aren't going your way are key traits," Barritt said.
"In last year's game against Wales, this team was still pretty inexperienced. There have been great stepping stones along the way since then."
The first of those staging posts was the summer tour of South Africa, when England bounced back from two brutally physical defeats to draw the third Test in Port Elizabeth.
The second was on December 1, when England buried the frustration of consecutive home defeats to beat world champions New Zealand at Twickenham.
And the third came in Dublin earlier in this championship, when England beat Ireland 12-6 and passed what Lancaster described as the biggest test of the character yet.
Against both the All Blacks and Ireland, England faced moments when the momentum was against them and defeat seemed likely but in both occasions they rallied to win.
They did the same against France and withstood a late onslaught from Italy last week to tee up this shot at a slice of Grand Slam history.
Despite the collective disappointment with the performance against Italy, England's confidence in their own resolve remains intact and it fuels their belief heading to Cardiff.
"It is going to be a very tough physical battle, especially with what is at stake," Barritt said.
"This is a brilliant place to be. The amount of hard work that has been done since the team came together typifies what this team is about.
"We take a lot of confidence from what we have done, especially the game against Wales last year when we thought we were possibly the better team on the day.
"In the trip to South Africa, the experiences at the end of the autumn and in these consecutive wins, this team has learned a lot about what we need to do in international rugby.
"Without taking this next step, it would be a massive shame."
Paul Scholes: Emirates was the easy option for Mesut Ozil. He needs a leader - and Arsenal don't have them
Gareth Bale reveals the two things he hates about Real Madrid: 'Getting nutmegged and Spanish spiders'
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao
Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his dance moves, including the moonwalk
Terminally-ill Club Brugge fan Lorenzo Schoonbaert delays euthanasia appointment to see his beloved football club 'win one last time'
- 1 Autism 'caused by genetics', study suggests
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Why you should never make assumptions about people with autism
- 4 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'