Hard work comes Goode

Alex Goode will make his first England start against South Africa

Alex Goode will make his first England start against South Africa

First published in National Sport © by

Saracens full-back Alex Goode believes years of hard work have paid off as he prepares to make his full England debut.

The 24-year-old is poised to make his first international start after being named in the side to face South Africa in Saturday's third Test in Port Elizabeth. Goode, an international at under-age levels and with the Saxons, has been talked of as a potential England player for some time but has had to wait for his chance.

Goode said: "You've just got to keep knocking with good performances really. I believed if I played well, year on year, game on game, then consistency would favour me. I put in some good performances with the Saxons as well and was always optimistic in that regard."

But on this summer's tour Goode has had to bide time behind Mike Brown and Ben Foden but he feels his patience and consistency is now being rewarded.

"Luckily on this tour I kept working, even with Browny and Fodes playing really well. I kept working and my chance has come," he said

Foden played at full-back throughout this year's RBS 6 Nations Championship but moved to the wing as Brown came in at the start of this month's series in South Africa.

Foden reverted to full-back after Brown was injured in the first Test loss in Durban but has now been shifted back out wide by head coach Stuart Lancaster to allow Goode a chance.

As Goode is a former fly-half, Lancaster hopes he can bring an extra ball-playing dimension to the team but the Sarries star knows his primary responsibilities remain the most important.

Goode said: "First and foremost you have got to defuse the high balls and secure the backfield as a full-back. That is the primary role - last line of defence, securing the ball at the back. As far as I am concerned, that is the role I have got to perform.

"In terms of helping out the fly-half, acting as another kicking game on the blindside or whatever that entails, I have been doing it for a few years at Saracens and hopefully that will stand me in good stead going into the Test match."

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