Rugby Comment: We’re vastly improved and ready for Toulon

NERVES are a positive thing. They bring the best out in everyone, add something to an occasion and there are few bigger than the Heineken Cup final.

The overall emotion in the dressing room though is excitement. We’ve had tough games recently in the Premiership and Heineken Cup and that’s always brought the best out of us. We’re in a good place.

We’ve had a good training week. The club are flying myself and the other kickers to Cardiff today, to get a feel for an unfamiliar pitch, which should be a softer surface than we’ve played on recently.

We know what we’re in for against Toulon tomorrow, they beat us in last year’s semi-final and it’s no surprise to see them in the final again. But I don’t think losing to them last season makes too much difference. We lost to Clermont Auvergne two years ago and played a totally different game in the semi-final a few weeks ago, beating them 46-6. As a group we’ve improved a lot this year, we’re a much better side and shown that in nearly every aspect.

We’re up against Jonny Wilkinson in the penultimate game of his career. He’s a hero for a lot of England fans, a lot of people respect him. He’s still a key player for Toulon, but we can’t focus on one person too much if we’re going to win the game.

I had a great start to the week personally, being named the club’s Players’ Player of the Year. It’s an unbelievable privilege and the ultimate honour for your fellow players to give you that award.

I voted for Billy Vunipola who ended up winning the Young Player of the Season award. We’ve had a brilliant year as a team, let’s hope there’s more honours to come.

Alex Goode plays for Saracens and England. For tickets to see Saracens v Northampton in the Premiership final visit or call 0844 847 1876.