Brad Barritt has been appointed as the new Saracens captain for the 2016/2017 season.
The England centre takes over the captaincy reins for the Premiership and European champions from fellow Durban-born player Alistair Hargreaves, who spent most of last season on the sidelines due to injury.
“To captain Saracens is a huge honour and I am looking forward to the responsibility,” the 29-year-old told the Saracens website.
“I’d like to put on record my thanks to Alistair, who has led Saracens superbly well over the last two seasons and will still have an important role by my side.
“Last season was the most successful in the club’s history and we are hoping to build on that in the coming years. We have a great blend of youth and experience in our group, a fantastic team spirit and a great coaching set-up, so we’ll continue to work incredibly hard over this coming season to build upon some very strong foundations.
“We are back-to-back Premiership champions and now European champions. We know those things don’t come easily, and we realise that next season is going to be that much harder because we are going to have a target on our backs, but it’s a challenge we are all relishing and we are as hungry as ever for success.”
Meanwhile, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall heaped praise on Barritt’s leadership attributes.
“Throughout Brad’s time at the club he has shown exceptional leadership qualities and he is ideally qualified to be our captain,” said McCall.
“Brad is someone who leads through example – through his actions, attitude and application. He is one of the most competitive players I have ever come across, showing complete commitment to the game and is a role model professional. He is a natural leader.
“He stepped in to the captaincy role last season in Alistair’s absence with real aplomb, and is highly respected by staff and players alike – we feel certain he will continue to lead the squad brilliantly, on and off the field.”