- Alex Goode outlines early season aims with an eye on QBE Internationals
- Saracens full back made impressive Test debut in South Africa
Photo: Getty Images
After making an impressive and long awaited Test bow in South Africa this summer, Alex Goode is determined to continue his upward trajectory with England and Saracens this season.
The 24-year-old debuted as late replacement in the second Test defeat in Johannesburg – announcing his presence by confidently sashaying past a defender with his first touch – before starting at full back in the 14-14 draw in Port Elizabeth.
And in the final Test he transferred his Aviva Premiership performances to the highest level, showing willingness to attack and authority under the high ball, while also exhibiting his versatility with a calm stint at fly half as England reorganised in the first half.
Goode served an extensive apprenticeship with England Under 20 and England Saxons, and, buoyed by his role in arresting a nine-game losing streak against the Springboks, is keen to kick-on in the coming campaign.
Now a full member of Stuart Lancaster’ 32-man Elite Player Squad for the first time, he said: “When you get a feel for international rugby, you just want to keep playing it more and more and grab the opportunity.
“I was lucky enough to play quite well out there [in South Africa] and I thought things went well for me. I’m in the EPS squad now and can get some good form going in preseason and then pushing on through to the first seven or eight weeks of the season.
“The QBE Internationals come around in the autumn and I hope to be in the mix.”
Photo: Getty Images
With Northampton Saints full back Ben Foden seemingly named as a wing in Stuart Lancaster’s squad –Chris Ashton and Charlie Sharples are the only other wide men – Goode appears to be in a straight fight with Harlequins’ Mike Brown for the No.15 England shirt.
Goode was talking at the unveiling of Saracens’ new kit for coming season and announcement of an £8million, six-year stadium naming rights and shirt deal with German company Allianz, which will see Saracens become the first professional club to play home games on an artificial pitch.
Attack-minded Goode is excited about the prospect of playing on a consistently fast surface through the winter, given he knows a series of polished performances for Saracens is the only way to surpass Brown – who was equally impressive in the first Test before injury ruled him out of the tour – in Lancaster’s plans.
“At times when it gets wet and cold in this country it is tough to play a lot of rugby,” he added.
“We’ll have a 4G or 5G pitch so it’s advanced in terms of technology and can make a massive difference. Week-in-week out we’ll have a hard ground to play on and it’s a very wide pitch compared to Vicarage Road and a lot of other Premiership grounds so it will allow for an expansive game.
“The weather conditions shouldn’t have such an impact on the game so hopefully we can start well and utilise [new signing] Chris Ashton, Strets [David Strettle] and the whole English back line we have.
"It’s a really exciting year and I’m looking to carry on where the England tour finished and continue playing well.”