Saracens star Barritt backs England defence ahead of World Cup opener

Saracens’ Brad Barritt says England plan to have the best defence at the World Cup after being named in the starting line-up for the opening game of the tournament tomorrow night (Friday).

The Red Rose start their challenge for the Webb Ellis trophy against Fiji at Twickenham, and Barritt has been selected among the 15 men who will take to the field for the host nation, while his clubmates Mako Vunipola, Billy Vunipola, Owen Farrell and Richard Wigglesworth are on the bench.

Barritt has become a key part of England’s defensive unit. He said: “We’ve made a goal for ourselves at this World Cup – to be the best defensive team.

“We want to be the most physical team. We want to be a team that has an offence and defence that causes a team to make errors and, as a result, gets some opportunities off the back of that.

“There will be games when our defence is going to be called into action a bit more, but we are definitely a team that wants to back our defence.

“We are quite comfortable if we have to go 30 or 40 phases in defence but we don’t concede or give away cheap points or penalties.

“It is a defence that is prepared for everything but, again, we want to get results off the back of it. The whole point of defence is to get the ball back.”

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England will be hoping to be back at Twickenham for the final on Saturday October 31 – and head coach Stuart Lancaster delivered an inspiring video presentation at their Surrey training base on Sunday night to instil the belief that they can go all the way and lift the trophy.

“It was a fantastic meeting, quite moving for every player,” said Barritt. “Everyone left feeling a bigger part of something special and feeling really honoured to be a part of this ride.

“The video showcased a young player coming through the ranks, dreaming of playing for England and playing in a home World Cup.

“Both the video and the way Stuart spoke was hugely emotive. I have no doubt it will resonate throughout the squad.”