Venter: Johnson got it wrong
May 13, 2010
Brad Barritt was left out of England's senior squad to the frustration of Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter. © Getty Images
Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter has revealed his shock at the absence of any his players in England's 44-man squad to tour Australia and New Zealand this summer - insisting that Martin Johnson has 'got it wrong'.
Saracens, who face Northampton in a Guinness Premiership play-off semi-final at Franklin's Gardens on Sunday, have three representatives in the Saxons squad with Alex Goode, Brad Barritt and Andy Saull to travel to the Churchill Cup.
But there were no places for his players in Johnson's inflated senior squad announced on Tuesday with Saracens captain Steve Borthwick granted the summer off to recover from a knee injury. Despite Borthwick's absence, Venter believes Saracens should be represented in the senior squad with Barritt's omission of particular surprise to the former South Africa centre.
"If Brad isn't in the best 44, then England have some unbelievable players," Venter told The Times. "To suggest [as the England hierarchy are said to have done] that he is too small is absurd."
At 15 stone, Barritt is bigger than some of his inside centre rivals such as Olly Barkley and Dominic Waldouck, both of whom are included in the squad along with Mike Tindall and Shontayne Hape. And Venter believes Barritt, who has played for the Sharks in the Super 14, not only has the physical stature to cope with international rugby, but also the required range of skills.
"I said to Martin that's one place where they've got it wrong. Brad has a very low error rate, he passes beautifully, kicks well out of hand and he's a great communicator. He was our best player against Leicester last weekend. The three best teams in the Premiership have been Leicester, Northampton and Saracens, and for us to have four individuals out of 70 is amazing."
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time
As Ewen McKenzie exits stage left, the ARU remains under huge pressure, with CEO Bill Pulver feeling the brunt of Australian rugby's displeasure, Greg Growden writes
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup
Following Saturday's shock announcement, we look at the highs and the lows of Ewen McKenzie's brief stint as Wallabies coach.