Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Alex Will Be Good If He's Asked to Fill in for Brown

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Alex Will Be Good If He's Asked to Fill in for Brown

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones Rugby Correspondent

ALEX GOODE was today backed to fill the void if Mike Brown fails to recover from concussion in time to face Ireland on Sunday.

Stuart Lancaster will decide today whether Brown has any chance of starting Sunday's crucial clash in Dublin and if the Harlequins star is out, the England coach will hand the No15 shirt to Saracens full-back Goode.

Sarries director of rugby Mark McCall has seen the 26-year-old, who won the last of his 16 caps against Wales last March, excel at full-back and also fill in for injured Owen Farrell at outsidehalf.

He said: "Alex was phenomenal against Bath [earlier this month] and all our good attack came through him. He's got time on the ball, makes good decisions and he's a great last line of defence.

"Kicking is not his only point of difference as a full-back -- he can act as a midfield receiver and is a great distributor. Alex is playing superb rugby and I would have no hesitation putting him in an England team."

Lancaster said: "We trust Alex and he has played lots of big games for us and in the short term has lost out to Mike who was the stand-out player in the Six Nations last season.

"Alex is equally good under the high ball and, having played recently at outside-half for Saracens, he offers that different kicking option, plus being able to fill in at first receiver. He will be ready to take his chance and we will be ready whatever combination we choose.

"You have to be 100 per cent certain Mike is fit to return because of the type of knock and the size of the game it is.

Potentially, Mike will not have trained fully from the game against Italy until this coming Friday, which is 13 days, and you need the team ready to play.

"A decision will have to be made [by the end of the day] because the team needs the opportunity to train and prepare with all the pieces in place. …

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