Barritt honours Kearsney with a signed Lions’ jersey

2013-08-23 00:00

KEARSNEY College’s first team rugby coach Barend Steyn has a record not too many school coaches can aspire to.

Since taking the coaching mantle in 2001, he has seen numerous players in the SA Schools side, with some going on to provincial and national honours.

However, he can also proudly boast of having coached two British and Irish Lions in Matt Stevens and Brad Barritt, who toured with the team to Australia earlier this year.

When the Saracens team from England came to play College Rovers at the Liv Village in Verulam last week, Barritt took time to return to his alma mater, presenting the school and Steyn with a British and Irish Lions jersey signed by the full squad.

“It’s a magnificent addition to our wall of fame,” said Steyn. “Brad is a rugby icon of our school and the wall already has numerous jerseys of his from his SA Schools days through to Springbok level. This jersey is a magnificent addition.”

With Stevens and Barritt in the Lions squad, it is believed to be the first time outside the United Kingdom that two players from the same school were part of the squad.

“They were exceptional schoolboy players. Matt played four years in the first team and was my captain in 2001,” said Steyn. “Brad was in the team two years and, interestingly, arrived here from primary school as a hooker. It was only at U16 level he switched to centre, which has brought him untold success.”

Barritt visited for two hours and is a loyal supporter of his old school.

“When he can, he always makes time for us. He has spoken at dinners and coached in the past,” said Steyn.

“It was encouraging to see the boys recognising him as a world rugby star when he walked around. He continues to be a great ambassador of the game, and we are proud to call him and Matt our own,” said Steyn.

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