Saracens 19 - 11 Cardiff Blues

Match info: Anglo-Welsh Cup at Vicarage Road

Date: 27/01/2013 KO: 15:00 Att: 3,726

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

Saracens

TriesShort (79)ConversionsMordt (79)PenaltiesMordt (4, 28, 49, 63)

19
vs
11

Cardiff Blues

TriesCopeland (36)PenaltiesSweeney (6) Davies (73)

FT (ht: 6-8)

  • Last Updated: January 27 2013, 18:40 GMT

Alex Goode declared himself fit for England's Six Nations opener against Scotland after making a successful return in Saracens' 19-11 LV= Cup victory over Cardiff Blues.

Alex Goode: Declared himself fit for England duty
Alex Goode: Declared himself fit for England duty

Goode was making his first appearance in five weeks since sustaining a shoulder injury and emerged from his 56-minute spell on the club's new artificial pitch at Allianz Park unscathed.

A second-half tackle by wing Owen Williams resulted in the 24-year-old landing heavily on the problematic left shoulder, but he was unharmed during the incident.

"I feel really good. There was a bit of apprehension - you always go into a situation like that a bit unsure at times," he said.

"But I'd done all the training, I'd tested the shoulder to the max and the physios had done a great job.

"I felt 100 per cent going into the game and the shoulder came through really well. I was very happy.

"I was a bit winded after getting smashed by their winger, but I managed to carry on all right and the shoulder showed no effects after the game.

"It feels brilliant and I'm very confident going forward."

England launch their Six Nations campaign at Twickenham on Saturday with Goode competing against Mike Brown of Harlequins and Northampton's Ben Foden for the number 15 jersey.

"It's up to (coach) Stuart Lancaster but I'm fit. I've got to train well this week and put myself on the radar," Goode said.

The artificial pitch at Allianz Park, which has been redeveloped at a cost of £24million, was greeted with universal approval.

On this occasion - a designated 'test event' attended by 3,500 invited Saracens fans and the first professional rugby union match to be played on the surface - the bold decision to abandon grass could only be viewed as a success.

Both clubs reported that any injuries sustained were due to rugby's usual attrition rate and not because of the surface and Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths ushered in an exciting new era for the club.

"People seemed to have a good time, there was a good atmosphere. When they got to their seats they seemed like children on Christmas morning as they took in their new surroundings," he said.

"One elderly gentleman with tears streaming down his face told me 'I can't believe this is happening, it's like a dream come true'.

"There are lots of things that can be improved upon and that's a process we'll work through, but in general everyone from fans to directors of rugby seem very pleased with our new home."

Blues director of rugby Phil Davies described the pitch as a "great surface", while fly-half Ceri Sweeney claimed it will lead to a faster game.

"There was no moisture on the ball, which was good for handling and meant you could play a bit," Sweeney said.

"That was good for players and spectators - everyone wants to see quicker and more open games of rugby. It's all good."


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