On Thursday 14th October this year, a very special evening was held at The Dorchester on Park Lane London for Brad Barritt, rugby legend and Co-Founder of Tiki Tonga Coffee Roasters. The Testimonial Committee hosted a wonderful dinner and tribute for a very special man and also for the benefit of a very special charity, LIV-Village.
A Star studded line up!
A true Saracens legend, not only a granite-hard cornerstone of the Sarries’ Wolfpack defence but a leader, a captain to the team.
Between 2006-2008 Brad played 78 games as part of the Sharks helping the team win the 2006 Currie Cup before joining the Saracens team in 2008. With Saracens he has made over 263 1st XV appearances, won the Premiership Cup 5 times and the European Rugby Champions Cup 3 times along with the team.
Brad has played for multiple international teams. Playing for England he received 26 caps and also represented his native teams Emerging Springboks in 2007 and South Africa in the final Under 21 Rugby World Championships against France in 2006.
Called up to the England senior squad for the first time in 2010 to face New Zealand Maoris, Brad made his debut against Scotland in the 2012 Six Nations Championship. Brad was also a British & Irish Lion having represented them on the victorious 2013 tour of Australia.
His intelligent rugby brain is now mirrored by a sharp business acumen with a master’s in business management, achieved alongside his rugby career. He co-founded Tiki Tonga Coffee Roasters and is now the Managing Director of Pollinate International, a UK based fintech company.
Five questions with BRAD BARRITT... #Coffee&Conversation Tiki Tonga style!
1. WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING SITUATION AMONGST
THE TEAM THAT YOU CAME ACROSS DURING YOUR TIME OF
LEADERSHIP AT SARACENS? AND HOW DID YOU SOLVE THIS?
We had many challenges to face, and it’s usually in the struggles, that character is shown and huge satisfaction is gained. The memory that pops to mind is the 2017-2018 season, which was following back to back European Titles, in the two previous campaigns. It’s fair to say we lost our way in many regards, we had some poor performances and had struggled in the Premiership campaign that season and then had crashed out of Europe at the Quarter Final stage. That loss, made us re-evaluate ourselves and the team we wanted to be, an open honest dialogue, simplified our approach, gave us purpose and we ended up going on a 7-match unbeaten run, to win the Premiership Final in 2018, against all the odds and the form showed for the bulk of the season. And for everyone involved it was a hugely satisfying period, and again re-instated the importance of team culture and values to an organisation.
2. WHAT DECISION DID YOU MAKE AS A CAPTAIN THAT YOU
FEEL HAD THE BEST AND MOST MEMORABLE POSITIVE
OUTCOME FOR THE TEAM?
Rugby is so collaborative and has so many intricacies and facets to the game, so I wanted to install a feeling of “collective ownership” and no decisions were made in isolation, without consulting my vice-captains Owen Farrell and Jamie George, as well as the Leadership group, who were an incredible group to work with over my time as captain. So hopefully empowering the people around me, allowed us to grow and keep evolving and improving as a team.
3. WHO IS THE BEST SPORTS LEADER YOU HAVE COME
ACROSS AND WHY?
A very difficult question to answer, as we are all swayed by the people we’ve worked with and personalities connected to the teams we love. However, someone I have always admired and respected as a leader and I have never met is Steve Waugh, who was part of the all-conquering Australian cricket team of the 90’s. He always rose to the challenge, and appeared incredibly composed, under any sort of pressure. The winning formula appeared contagious, and he certainly harnessed a hugely confident culture.
4. WAS THERE SOMEONE YOU TOOK INSPIRATION FROM TO
PERFORM YOUR LEADERSHIP ROLE AS CAPTAIN OF SARACENS
As a kid living in South Africa in 1995, you couldn’t help but be drawn into the fairytale of Francois Pienaar and his team, and the connection with Mr Mandela. And I have been quite fortunate in my career, to have played with some phenomenal players and leaders. Two leaders stick out for different reasons, John Smit was my captain at the Sharks and had wonderful interpersonal skills, and had the empathy and consideration of his team, and unified a very multicultural group. And when I first joined Saracens, Steve Borthwick, was the captain, and he lead by true example, and without doubt one of the hardest working and diligent professionals I’ve ever known, and most importantly they gained my greatest respect by just being themselves.
5. FROM YOUR PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WHAT WOULD YOU SAY
ARE THE QUALITIES THAT MAKE A GOOD LEADER?
Genuity, Honesty and Empathy. In my experience leaders who are
true to themselves and don’t try be something they’re not, are easy
to follow and people respect them for being so. Whether it’s good or bad news, people will always respect you for being honest, even when sometimes, it’s not what people want to hear. Being captain, brings a complexity of emotions and understanding of the individuals around you. Understanding the personality, is always much more important than understanding the players, and being able to connect on a personal level, enables you to learn what makes that person tick, to bring out the best in each other.
Fun, Friends & Family!
The Tiki Tonga Family came too!
And finally we thought you would enjoy reading this wonderful opening page to Brad’s testimonial programme, authored by John Mayo CBE and the Testimonial Committee: Jeremy Charles, Edward Griffiths.
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome you on behalf of the Testimonial Committee to this special testimonial dinner for a very special man and also for the benefit of a very special charity, LIV-Village.
The COVID Pandemic has played havoc with our timing and I apologise for the long delays, but this is nothing compared to the pain and suffering felt the world over. There are on-going travel issues and some of our guests and speakers have been unable to travel due to government restrictions or to make their duties fit around our new date.
Brad has flown in to London and done his two weeks quarantine for this event so that he can be here in person to thank you for the many years of support that you have all given him. We also have the opportunity to be introduced to a charity that Brad supports in South Africa which does fantastic work, protecting and raising children who have been orphaned by AIDS. LIV is an extraordinary charity saving these young souls from a terrible life they did nothing to deserve. We are sure you will appreciate and want to support them in their work. Brad’s support for LIV also gives an insight into the truly grounded nature and empathy of “Captain Fantastic”.
The opposition centre’s greatest obstacle, but his own side’s pillar of strength, Brad earned the Saracens fans’ “Captain Fantastic” label with brutal tackling and straight running, leading the team and the whole Club by his uncompromising example. His tactical nous, calmness under pressure and sheer determination were increasingly appreciated from the stands as the years went by. These attributes blended with his friendly, grounded demeanour; empathy and intelligence made him both the perfect mentor for developing youngsters and the leader for the Club as it scaled the heights of domestic and European rugby.
Off the field, Brad took the opportunity to support the Matt Hampson Foundation and the Saracens Foundation and we know that he would like to thank the Wray family, Mark McCall and all the staff at Saracens for the support they have shown to these incredible rugby charities, the Saracens Club and himself over the years. Brad will take into his future business life a rich mix of experience on and off the field. He has had more knocks than he could (or would) mention, but we are sure he leaves the game with many happy memories. These are memories that he created with his team, with his Club and with his country. He leaves us with many happy memories too…..who can forget the biggest sporting event of 2012? Not the Olympics but on 1st December 2012 when the All Blacks, undefeated for 16 months and riding high, were walloped 38 v 21 by England. Anyone who saw that game will never forget Brad’s try. New Zealand were stunned by the power of Barritt and Tuilagi smashing through them and they never recovered their poise. A defining moment in the game and an enduring memory.
These fantastic memories come at a bit of a price in terms of workload, experience and sometimes injury. As we only have a page for this welcome note, we are simply providing some facts that you might like to consider about Brad, the impact he has had as a leader in his sport, the memories he has created, and the sacrifices he has made as measured by necessary medical operations!
Download the full programme to view here:
All in all a wonderful occasion, the rest of the Tiki Tonga Team are honoured to be part of your family Brad and we thank our customers for their ongoing support. Stay strong and keep caffeinating!