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Saracens star: It would be heartbreaking to end season empty-handed

Toulon's Juan Smith (right) tackles Saracens' Brad Barritt Toulon's Juan Smith (right) tackles Saracens' Brad Barritt

Thursday, May 29, 2014
8:30 AM

Brad Barritt admits it would be heartbreaking if Saracens end this season without a trophy as they gear up for their second shot at silverware this weekend.

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Sarries have enjoyed a fine campaign, reaching the Heineken Cup final for the first time and also progressing to the Premiership final after finishing top of the table.

But they were beaten by Jonny Wilkinson’s Toulon in the European final on Saturday and, if they are also defeated by Northampton Saints at Twickenham this weekend, they will finish the campaign empty-handed.

“A lot of great work has been done this season, so to end it without a trophy would be very disappointing,” said Barritt. “The team is as hungry as ever. It didn’t happen for us [against Toulon] but we will try our best to make amends this weekend.

“There is still a huge amount to play for, but Northampton are very willing and able finalists who did well to finish number two in the league. We are going to have to really perform to pull it out of the bag.

“We are desperate to finish the season with a trophy. Our focus will switch to Northampton.

“It’s a great opportunity to finish the season with a trophy, and if we can do that, we will look back on this as a very successful season.

“Over the past couple of seasons, a big strength of this team is the way we have bounced back.

“A few words were said in the changing-room afterwards [against Toulon] and the whole squad want to finish this season with a bang.

“There is going to be a huge concerted effort from all the boys to make that happen. This is a hiccup, and we’ll get back on the horse.”

Barritt admits it will be easier said than done to get over the disappointment of the defeat at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, but he insists the squad will get it out of their system before they arrive at Twickenham on Saturday.

“A huge amount of effort went into this [European] campaign, and it ended at the final hurdle, so we will have taken time to deal with that and then prepare to fight in the Premiership final,” he said.

“I think any time you get to a final, there is more hurt because you were one step closer.

“I don’t think we were that far off, it was just minor things in the game – the breakdown being a key aspect and something we will have to rectify in seasons going forward.

“Every time we had a sniff and made good progress, there was a turnover at the breakdown and that thwarted everything we got going. We will have to work on that and be better next time.”

Saracens finished top after the 22-game regular league season by an emphatic nine-point margin, with Northampton second – but they recently endured a four-match losing streak against the Saints which only ended last month when Sarries earned a narrow 28-24 home win at Allianz Park.

Northampton will arrive at Twickenham on the back of an impressive Amlin Challenge Cup final success against Bath, when fly-half Stephen Myler’s superb goalkicking steered them to a 30-16 victory after they trailed by seven points midway through the contest.

But, unlike Northampton, Saracens have savoured Premiership title success previously, winning the competition in 2011 after beating Leicester 22-18 in the final.

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