It was great to catch up with Saracens legend, Alex Goode! We talked pre-season, goals for this campaign, grassroots rugby and the upcoming women's world cup. Absolute gent and we wish him the best for the coming season!
Have you started pre-season yet? If so, how’s it going and what does it usually entail?
Yeah, we started pre-season about 4 weeks ago, with our first warm-up fixture fast approaching. 10th of August I think the first one is.
Pre-season is one of the toughest times of the year, that’s for sure. After a few weeks off, your body gets a real shock and is put through its paces. We do lots of running, and aim to maximise our gains in strength and fitness, focusing a lot around power weights to ready us for the physicality of the contact season.
Within pre season we tend to avoid the contact area, however we do a lot of work on key areas, like set-pieces and the breakdown, to ensure we’re well drilled for when we hit game situations.
Last season was obviously a successful one for Saracens. What are this season’s goals and how do you go one better?
With regards to the team, nothing changes drastically, however we known we’re not the finished article; far from it in fact. So, we’ll continue to strive for improved performances and ultimately we want to win every game. We got our hands on silverware last season and we of course want to do that again this year.
From a personal point of view, again I just want to keep improving and develop into a better rugby player. It obviously hurt not making the England squad this summer but that just makes me more determined – this season I want to go out there and prove a point, and with that hopefully make the next squad.
Can England's Women Emulate their success at 2014 World Cup with a Victory in Ireland? Can this World Cup close to home have a really positive impact?
I don’t see why they can’t – they clearly have great strength in depth and to go out to New Zealand, which as we all know is never an easy place to go, and win the series was extremely impressive. So, yes, I think they can win it again.
It’s great to see more and more women taking up rugby, and moments like the girls winning the 2014 world cup will no doubt have given women confidence to throw on a jersey and take up the sport. The great thing about rugby is that it’s suitable for everyone; males, females, children and caters for all shapes and sizes, so anyone can play – I hope the game continues to grow and prosper.
What was your first grassroots rugby club and what are your first memories of playing rugby?
I was always into sport from a young age however I was tempted by rugby because they had the best penny chew sweets; true story!
My first rugby club was Cambridge – I remember watching my brother go along and I really wanted to join in but was too young – very frustrating at the time. However, when I was old enough (around 7 or 8) I started up and absolutely loved it from the off. I played with them from the age of 7-18, progressing through the age groups and into the 1st XV. It’s a very special club and I still have a few friends who were with me through those initial playing days; our parents are also still friends, which is lovely.
I actually remember we hosted a mini rugby festival back in the day and Matt Dawson and Neal Back were handing out there prizes – a very inspirational moment for me.
Are you still connected with the club?
Absolutely – as I mentioned above, I am still good friends with a number of my childhood rugby tem-mates and I try to head back to the club when I can. I appreciate the club even more now, as a little while back it went into administration, and it would have been horrible to see it go under.
When I played for the Barbarians, the club sent me a pair of socks to play in, which was a really special moment. I had lots of people coming up to me asking why I wasn’t wearing Sarries socks but honestly, it was a privilege to be able to don the Cambridge colours again.
How Important do you see the grassroots of our sport?
It’s vital and we as a sport should always be doing more and more to ensure that rugby is moving forward from it’s foundations (the grassroots) up. Plenty people play the sport and I’d say participation levels are healthy; it’s just vital that we keep pushing it forward so we don’t become static – that’s when people start to drop off.
End of the day, rugby is a social sport and it’s all about having fun – people playing the game with smiles on their face; what more could you really ask for?