James Mortimer 16.Dec.2012Getty Images
Barritt’s grandfather John, regarded in some circles (but rarely to his face) as the Ox, would have played in 1949 for Rhodesia against the All Blacks, but due to military commitments was unable to play a part in one of the legendary matches in African rugby folklore.
John, as well as Brad’s father Bruce, played for Rhodesia – the state now formally recognised as Zimbabwe.
While the All Blacks were playing the Springboks on the 1949 tour, captain Fred Allen led a party of players, admittedly not full strength (only ten of the starting XV were capped), to Rhodesia, and the now defunct international side recorded a now fabled 10-8 win over the All Blacks in Bulawayo.
To put the win into perspective, Rhodesia remain to this day one of only six nations to have defeated the All Blacks.
Barritt told the Daily Mail that his try and England’s victory over the All Blacks was dedicated to John.
“That's why I had a little moment thinking about my grandfather as the final whistle blew and I left the field,” Barritt said.
“He was a big, goal-kicking lock forward, would you believe, and he missed the Test that Rhodesia famously won. I just looked up and thought ‘Hope you're pleased, Granddad. You didn't make that match against the All Blacks and now I've been part of a team that has beaten them.’ I'm sure he would have been smiling somewhere up there.”
The score was Barritt’s first in Test rugby, but the Kearsney College product said that the epic victory over the All Blacks would not count for much if the Red Rose didn’t do the business in the Six Nations.
“It was a good time to score my first Test try, not only because of the quality of the opposition, but also the timing, just after New Zealand had scored two quick tries of their own,” Barritt recalled.
“The key now is to take our new confidence and repeat that kind of performance in the Six Nations, otherwise the win over the All Blacks won't count for much.”