Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Saracens' Backs Show England the Way Forward

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Saracens' Backs Show England the Way Forward

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones Rugby Correspondent

[bar] LEX GOODE and the Englishqualified Saracens back division enhanced their chances of breaking into the Six Nations squad with a 31-26 Heineken Cup triumph over Ospreys and with head coach Andy Farrell elevated to the new England management, they have an added incentive to impress.

Full-back Goode was a key attacking weapon on Saturday and believes he can offer England a "different dimension" to their attack, particularly if Charlie Hodgson is firing out the kind of misspasses that created so much space in front of 41,000 fans at Wembley.

Chris Wyles, the US wing, is the only Sarries back not available to England, although he has lived here since he was 11. The rest of the unit features Goode, fly-half Hodgson, scrum-half Ben Spencer, centres Brad Barritt and Owen Farrell plus wing Dave Strettle and they operate under Farrell senior, who will have a major say in the make up the Elite Player Squad that will be named at the start of next month.

The presence of so many players from this country is notable given the flak Sarries have taken for the South African influence in their squad.

Goode said: "We've heard all the comments about us being London South Africa and being asked if we only speak Afrikaans in training! But, we won the Premiership Final with 16 of the 23 man squad being English.

"I'm happy with my form and with so many good full-backs in England, it's about me showing consistency. I believe I can offer a different dimension and I know Stuart Lancaster [England's temporary head coach] well from the Saxons. It is a real joy playing outside Charlie because he has fantastic vision and passing ability. Against Ospreys, we moved the ball wide really well and created tries because Charlie put you into holes."

Goode and his fellow backs can make the rest of the England management take notice by recording back-to-back wins over the Ospreys when the teams meet again on Friday night.

Sarries lead Pool Five by three points from Ospreys and Biarritz, who were beaten 30-26 by Treviso on Saturday, so victory in Swansea could leave the Premiership champions within touching distance of the quarter-finals with two rounds to play. …

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