December 6 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Alex Goode insists Newcastle Falcons will feel the brunt of a Saracens backlash this Sunday and for a rugby player who has suffered disappointment for club and country over the past week he’s got more reason than most to unleash some frustrations on the newly-promoted side.
The full-back was deemed surplus to England requirements on Tuesday and released back to his club, so soon after their 41-20 humbling at Premiership title adversaries Northampton.
It was arguably an inevitable outcome after being outgunned by rival Ben Foden, who will now warm the Red Rose bench behind starting No.15 Mike Brown in Saturday’s first autumn international against Australia.
Not only did the Saints ace crash in two of his side’s six tries, he prevented Goode from scoring a first half effort that, had it been converted, could have levelled the scores at 10 apiece and changed the complexion of the contest.
Instead, Saracens were not only handed their first league defeat of the season and heaviest for four and a half years, they were dismantled in rare and ruthless fashion by an east midlands outfit fast becoming their bogey team after last term’s play-off semi-final shock at Allianz Park.
That aside, this Sarries unit are unaccustomed to defeat so a second consecutive reverse – having lost against Toulouse in the Heineken Cup the week before – is as close to a crisis as this club come.
It’s one that can be sharply arrested when they welcome Newcastle to Hendon on Sunday and, 48 hours before Guy Fawkes night, the hosts will hope to win with something of a whizz, bang and sparkle.
“It’s a big test for us,” Goode said. “We started the season so well and to get two losses is very disappointing, especially the manner that we lost [at Northampton].
“But if there’s one thing that will happen this week, we’ll have a good talking to ourselves and we’ll come out firing.
“I guess Newcastle would probably rather we’d won because it might be better for them. The loss is going to spur us on even more so we come out fighting even harder.”
The shock of their surrender to Saints will sting and need some sharp analysis, something that won’t be lost on Goode.
“I hate losing,” he said, adding: “It really, really irritates me and I’ll be looking at the video for quite a while.
“You’ve got to look at what went wrong, the disappointments [both] technically, tactically and come back a stronger team from it.
“It’s what we’ve always prided ourselves on – learning from our defeats and getting better from it.”
Last Saturday’s game was the first test this term of Saracens’ squad strength without the Vunipola brothers Mako and Billy, Owen Farrell, Joel Tomkins and Chris Ashton, who are all part of England’s 23-man squad for the Wallabies clash.
Director of rugby Mark McCall said in the game’s aftermath that their absentees were “no excuse whatsoever” for Sarries’ defeat and Goode was inclined to agree, saying; “All those players have played Premiership rugby already this year, with the exception was Marcelo Bosch coming off the bench and Richard Barrington [who made his full debut].
“I thought Richard did well and Marcelo came off the bench and showed some great glimpses. He’ll be a real player once he settles into the structures.
“Everyone else had played Premiership rugby and knew what the craic was so I don’t think you can blame it on that and I think the squad’s good enough.”