Mar 13, 2016
Goode inspires Saracens win in historic day in New Jersey
Saracens edged a brave London Irish side 26-16 in an historic day for Aviva Premiership Rugby at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, USA.
Inspired by the mercurial Alex Goode who finished the game with 19-points, Saracens regained top spot in the Premiership standings after top four rivals Exeter Chiefs briefly replaced the Allianz Park side at the summit of the league earlier this weekend.
Goode was in fine form with the 27-year old full-back playing in Saracens colours this weekend having been released by England earlier in the week. Despite his hectic schedule this week. Goode scored a try and was a constant thorn in the Exiles side with his dangerous footwork and game management from the back field drawing a special mention from director of rugby Mark McCall post-match, who described his full-back’s performance as ‘international class’.
In what was a tense game witnessed by 14,811 fans in New Jersey, Saracens fell behind to a Greig Tonks penalty after nine minutes play.
Ben Spencer had an attempt to level the game minutes later, only for his attempt to clip the posts and bounce clear. Spencer’s miss though wouldn’t haunt Sarries for too long as Goode crossed for the games first try. Collecting an inside ball from former Exiles man Nils Mordt, Goode showed his international pedigree by sidestepping a glut of Irish defenders before outpacing the covering Sean Maitland to score under the posts. Spencer converted to give Sarries a 7-3 lead after fifteen minutes play.
The Exiles responded almost immediately, and with another fantastic score. Quick hands between the backs opened up some space and after holding the ball just long enough Scott Steele found Lewington inside him, and the winger raced away for the score. Tonks added the extras.
Another penalty from Tonks stretched the lead to 13-7 after 24 minutes with Spencer missing a second penalty of the game on the half-hour as Irish led by six at the break.
With Spencer having a rare profligate day at the office Alex Goode assumed the kicking duties in the second half, slotting two quick penalties to draw Saracens level.
And he added another not long after to put Saracens ahead for the first time, only for USA lock Hayden Smith to concede a penalty which Tonks slotted to make it 16-16.
Goode though would add another penalty to put Saracens back in front once again with less than ten minutes to go, with Irish fly-half Tonks missing a chance to level the game once again with penalty miss.
Tonks’ missed chance proved crucial as Saracens continued to press the Exiles and forced them into their own 22 with minutes left to play.
Irish looked to counter, but after some resolute defence from Sarries Nick Tompkins pounced on a spilt ball to sprint away and seal the victory, denying the Exiles a bonus point.
Final Score: London Irish 16 Saracens 26
15 Sean Maitland; 14. Alex Lewington; 13. Ciaran Hearn; 12. Johnny Williams (rep: Fergus Mulchrone, 73); 11. Topsy Ojo; 10. Greig Tonks; 9. Scott Steele (rep: Darren Allinson, 71; 1. Tom Smallbone (rep: Tom Court, 58); 2. Tom Cruse (rep: Gerard Ellis, 71); 3. Halani Aulika (rep: Leo Halavatau, 59); 4. Matt Symons; 5. Elliott Stooke (rep: Will Lloyd, 64); 6. Luke Narraway (Captain); 7. Blair Cowan (rep: Joe Trayfoot, 58); 8. Rob McCusker
Replacements: 16. Gerard Ellis; 17. Tom Court; 18. Leo Halavatau; 19. Will Lloyd; 20. Joe Trayfoot; 21. Darren Allinson; 22. Theo Brophy Clews; 23. Fergus Mulchrone
Scorers: London Irish: Penalties: Tonks (10, 26, 58) Tries: Lewington (19); Conversions: Tonks
15 Alex Goode; 14. Mike Ellery; 13. Nick Tompkins; 12. Brad Barritt (Captain); 11. Chris Wyles (rep: Nathan Earle, 79); 10. Nils Mordt (rep: Ben Ransom, 64); 9. Ben Spencer(rep: Neil De Kock, 45); 1. Richard Barrington (rep: Titi Lamositele, 40) ; 2. Jared Saunders (rep: David Porecki, 70); 3. Juan Figallo (rep: Petrus Du Plessis, 46); 4. Hayden Smith; 5. Jim Hamilton (rep: Alistair Hargreaves, 45); 6. Michael Rhodes; 7. Jacques Burger (rep: Kelly Brown, 45); 8. Jackson Wray
Replacements: 16. David Porecki; 17. Titi Lamositele; 18. Petrus Du Plessis; 19. Alistair Hargreaves; 20. Kelly Brown; 21. Neil De Kock; 22. Nathan Earle; 23. Ben Ransom
Saracens: Tries: Goode (15), Tompkins (78); Conversion: Spencer, Goode; Penalties: Goode (45, 49, 55, 70)
Referee: Luke Pearce
Attendance: 14, 811