Alex Goode reflects on his time in Japan and settling back into life in North London
Alex Goode has returned from Japan and settled straight back in to life in North London, with a firm objective of helping Saracens’ promotion push over the next four weeks.
The full-back, who has 303 appearances for Sarries went to Japan in October to feature for NEC Green Rockets, where he was able to experience a new style of rugby in the Land of the Rising Sun.
“It really was an amazing experience. It was tough at times of course as it was relatively lonely, being away from family and the club as I was about to enter my 14th season here, but as a place to visit and explore it was great.” Said the 33-year-old.
Playing during the COVID-19 times may have had a significant impact on Goode’s Japanese adventure, but he was pleasantly surprised at how freely he was able to move around.
“The pandemic actually had a smaller impact than I imagined. There were rules but I could travel around and see places, I went to the North Island and Kyoto and Osaka which was great. It gave me the chance to see the country which was fantastic!”
“To be back with such good people and with mates has given me a really good feeling. “
It’s fair to say that Goode has been an enormous part of the success in recent years, winning five Premiership titles and three European Cups, meaning he is delighted to be back and challenging for more silverware.
“It’s amazing to be back. It was such a good feeling coming back in to the club and everyone has been so welcoming. To be back with such good people and with mates has given me a really good feeling.
“All of the messages that I’ve had since returning have meant so much, it’s been incredible.”
The 2019 European Player of the Year admitted that it has been difficult to watch and being unable to impact from Japan, but if anything that has added to his motivation moving forward.
“It was hard to watch from afar, particularly in that first week when you want to help out but you can’t. Obviously I was following all of the games and speaking to everyone, but it’s been great to see the more recent performances all coming together and we look in a much better place.”
The return of supporters to StoneX Stadium for the win over Ampthill saw the turnstiles open for the first time this season, and his standing ovation when coming on as a replacement is a moment that will live with him for a long time.
“I was lucky to have fans at games in Japan which was awesome, but it was amazing to see all of the supporters at StoneX against Ampthill.
“It’s been a tough year for so many people so it must have been great to be watching live sport again, and all of the players were saying how loud they were and how much of an impact it made.”
He added: “It was particularly special for my girlfriend and Mum to hear the reception that I got on Monday. It was an amazing moment and I’m really grateful to everyone for that!”
The objective from everyone at the club is clear between now and the end of the season, and Goode is keen to be at the forefront of the search for promotion.
“I just want to contribute as much as I can which is hopefully enough to see us promoted, and then we’ll see what happens from there!”
With so many trophies already in his cabinet, if Goode can add his stardust to the Men in Black once again, then there is every chance that he could be adding another in mid June.