ENGLAND coach Andy Farrell expects full-back Alex Goode to thrive in the pressurised environment of his side’s crunch Six Nations clash with Ireland in Dublin on Sunday and offset the loss of Mike Brown, who was ruled out yesterday.
Brown had already suffered a setback in his post-concussion recovery after being knocked unconscious against Italy in England’s last clash, and woke with a headache yesterday following training on Tuesday.
Goode has 16 England caps to his name but has not started for the Red Rose since the harrowing 30-3 defeat to Wales at the Millennium Stadium two years ago, although Farrell has no qualms about unleashing the 26-year-old in such a pivotal fixture.
“Mike [Brown] has been in great form. He’s a guy who stands up in pressure situations and performs extremely well. With the young backline we have, he’s been a massive help for us,” said Farrell.
“But Alex [Goode] is an experienced guy himself who has been waiting for his chance for some time now. His form for Saracens in the big games against Munster and Clermont and in recent matches has been exceptional.”
Farrell admits there are no long-term concerns over the physical condition of Brown, and the Harlequins No15 is expected to be in contention for the final two games of the championship against Scotland and France at Twickenham.
“This morning Mike woke up not feeling 100 per cent,” added Farrell. “The right and proper thing to do was make the call. His health is the main priority here and we need to get him right for the next game.
“The symptoms aren’t too severe whatsoever, just a little headache. He’s fine in himself and is chirpy enough, but it just isn’t worth the risk because his health comes first.”