Sun, 20 Sep 2020

Former England fullback off to Japan on loan

13 Aug 2020, 00:12 GMT+10

Alex Goode, the European Player of the Year in 2019, is to spend a season on loan with Japanese side NEC Green Rockets after extending his contract with relegated Premiership side Saracens.

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The 32-year-old former England fullback committed himself to the European champions till 2023.

But the 21-times capped Goode will move to Japan at the end of the 2019/20 Premiership season, which resumes on Friday after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March.

Saracens - relegated due to persistent breaches of the salary cap - travel to third-placed Bristol on Saturday.

Goode, who has been involved in all five of Saracens' Premiership triumphs since their first in 2011 as well as their three European titles, said it was still a privilege to be part of the club.

"I love being part of this club," said Goode, who will return to Saracens next May.

"I love the environment, coming in every day and being with friends, people who I've known for many years.

"I've had 14 years at this club and I've loved every moment.

"Everyone has given me so much and given me and my family so many memories over the years which will stay with me for the rest of my life."

Mark McCall, Saracens director of rugby, said: "Alex Goode is one of the most gifted players of his generation.

"To watch him play is to be reminded of the subtle, skilful and intangible aspects that encapsulate great rugby performances.

"His balance on the run, bravery in the air and execution under pressure have often made the difference in the club's biggest moments."

Goode is the latest of Saracens' established stars like flyhalf Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Jamie George, Elliot Daly and brothers Mako and Billy Vunipola to commit to the club.

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