England full-back Goode happy to be back with Saracens for Northampton clash
PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 November 2014 | UPDATED: 07:38 20 November 2014
2014 Matthew Impey
Full-back Alex Goode will be lining up for Saracens against Northampton Saints on Sunday, and the England international insists his focus will be on the top-of-the-table clash at Allianz Park.
After another impressive performance in the club’s 21-21 draw at Leicester Tigers last weekend, Goode may have felt he had earned a chance to play for England in Saturday’s Test against Samoa at Twickenham.
But the 26-year-old was one of a number of players released back to their clubs when Red Rose head coach Stuart Lancaster picked his squad for the match this week – and he is relishing the prospect of facing long-term rivals Northampton.
He said: “It’s pretty exciting to be playing in yet another big game for Saracens against a top side in Northampton Saints.
“They are playing well and we know that we have to put in a big performance to get the win.
“We’re in a good position in the Premiership and Northampton are top so it doesn’t get much bigger than this.
“They have been playing very well and we’ve had some good performances but we know as a group that we can still improve and that’s what we have focused on in training this week.
“That is all we can look at, working on what we need to do in training and not thinking too much about past games or even thinking about the disappointment of missing out in the final last season.”
Northampton controversially pipped Saracens to the Premiership title in May, being awarded a last-minute try in the final.
It was the latest in a long line of feisty clashes between the two clubs on and off the pitch.
Goode added: “A lot is made of our rivalry, but that just comes from two top teams playing against each other regularly in big games.
“We both have a lot of respect for each other and Sunday will be two good sides both looking to be at the top of their game to get the win and that brings out the best in players.”
Saracens players will be taking on a different challenge on Wednesday when darts legends Eric Bristow and Keith Deller come to Allianz Park.
Sarries stars, including David Strettle, Mouritz Botha and Richard Barrington, will swap the rugby field for the oche when they face the two former world champion darts players.
Hosted by darts referee Russ Bray, the evening will also give fans a chance to meet the darts legends and Saracens players with a Q&A before the final action of the evening to determine the champion of the Allianz Park dart board.
Tickets, including food and drink, cost £25. For more information visit www.allianzpark.com