Goode hands England lift as Saracens christen new home

SARACENS’ new ground was not the only thing getting the thumbs-up from forwards coach Alex Sanderson yesterday, who insisted fit-again full-back Alex Goode showed just why he could be so crucial to England’s Six Nations campaign.

Sarries began life on their artificial pitch at Allianz Park with a 19-11 LV= Cup victory over Cardiff Blues. Robin Copeland became the first man to score a try in the new stadium when he went over for the Welsh region in the first half, but James Short replied with a score of his own after the break and Nils Mordt kicked the rest of the points to give the London side the victory.

Sanderson said he felt “lucky and privileged” to have a pitch unaffected by last week’s bad weather, and backed Goode, on his comeback from a shoulder injury, to be ready for England’s clash with Scotland on Saturday.

“We brought him off to save him because we wanted him to perform well for England,” said Sanderson. “But he showed touches of brilliance and I’m sure he will have a fantastic Six Nations. I’d love to see him start against Scotland. I see no reason why not.”

Elsewhere on Sunday, London Irish remained unbeaten in 2013 as Marland Yarde helped himself to a hat-trick in a 46-24 win over Worcester Warriors.

Saturday saw London Wasps fall to a 34-8 defeat at Leicester Tigers while Gordon Ross’ 100th London Welsh appearance did not go according to plan as the Exiles lost 23-6 to Harlequins.

The LV= Cup – watch the next generation break through. For tickets and info, visit www.lv.com/rugby