- Alex Goode keen to support Toby Flood on Saturday
- Team is aware of Fiji's attacking threat says full back
Full back Alex Goode says that the main way he can influence the game against Fiji on Saturday and help England execute their game plan is by taking the pressure off fly half Toby Flood.
The Saracens star was named as Stuart Lancaster’s first choice 15 for the clash at Twickenham, where he will pick up his third England cap.
Goode made his Test debut on last summer’s tour of South Africa, and played a full 80 minutes against the Springboks in the final match in Port Elizabeth. England drew the match 14-14 with Goode demonstrating his reliability and cool head under pressure in front of the England coaching staff.
Playing for Aviva Premiership frontrunners Saracens has enabled the 24-year-old to develop into the full-back role, having originally played fly half earlier in his career. While his duties at full back will be critical to England’s game plan this Saturday, Goode says that his ability to support his fellow backs and especially Flood is something he can really add to the team.
“In attack I can be another point of contact, cover the blind side and also act and organise the second receiver,” said Goode. “I can also organise the forwards and backs around Floody so that he just has to look at the No.9 at the breakdown and then knows he just has to do his role when he gets the ball.
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“I am hoping to make the backline quite smooth and flowing as well as organising the back field, the eight and wings. I just want to make sure it’s tough for the opposition to get out of their half and gain 60 yards.
“I am lucky I am a step back and can see the whole picture and what is unfolding and see where the players are. I have a bit more time so can talk to Floddy and say 'go short', 'go wide', “go close”, things like that do help him a bit and that’s the key.”
With Fiji’s reputation of playing an expansive game, based heavily on their success in 7s, Goode reckons that the key to stopping them is to apply the pressure early on and to prevent them dictating the match.
“We are lucky that a few of their players play in France so we know them but there is always an element of unknown,” said Goode. “They like to play unstructured and move the point of contact. They don’t like to have rucks and mauls and just try and move the ball quickly, which makes them a very dangerous team.
“They get on the front foot and start offloading which can get you in a lot of trouble, so the key is to put pressure on them and put pressure on their skills and see how they cope.”