Goode's Grand Slam celebrations

PUBLISHED: 17:08 15 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:14 26 October 2009

RUGBY star Alex Goode helped England s Under-20s clinch a first ever RBS Six Nations Grand Slam in Gloucester last night. The University of Hertfordshire student played a pivotal role in England s 43-14 drubbing of Ireland U20 at Kingsholm. It was a spark

RUGBY star Alex Goode helped England's Under-20s clinch a first ever RBS Six Nations Grand Slam in Gloucester last night.

The University of Hertfordshire student played a pivotal role in England's 43-14 drubbing of Ireland U20 at Kingsholm.

It was a sparkling seven-try romp by England, with teenage Saracens star Goode once again at the heart of most things good in the home display.

Having started the competition at fly-half, Goode played at inside centre for the second match running as England followed up their victories over Wales, Italy, France and Scotland with another powerhouse performance.

Seb Stegmann, Hugo Ellis, Luke Eves, Matt Cox, Nathan Catt, Mark Odejobi and Noah Cato all scored tries.

Four of them were converted by Goode, the 19-year-old nephew of Tewin's Olympic badminton couple Andy and Jo Goode and grandson on badminton coach Bill Goode.

England needed to finish sharply to get the show on the road after a first-half flat spell and an uncharacteristic number of early errors and penalties against a combative Irish side.

David Kearney touched down early on for the visitors and fly-half Ian Madigan kept them in the game with three first-half penalties.

But ultimately the Irish didn't have England's pace and firepower, or a back-row forward to match Jon Fisher's all-round excellence.

Overcoming a tough Ireland side, who had conceded fewer points than the hosts going into Friday's game, was no easy task and emphasised when England fell behind after four minutes.

Full back Kearney found no-one at home when put through a gap 40 metres out.

The lead lasted less than three minutes, though, with captain Ellis battering his way to within inches of the line and the ball released for Goode to put Stegmann over for his second try of the campaign.

Goode, who studies at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield where Sarries have their training base, converted from wide on the right.

England lost their way after that, making some uncharacteristic errors and falling behind when Madigan stroked over his first successful penalty effort.

It took until the half-hour mark for the England to hit their stride again, with a sweeping long-range attack down the right involving Simpson, Greendale and Cato before Stegmann put Ellis away for the second try. Goode again converted.

Another careless penalty conceded at the kick-off allowed Madigan to get Ireland back to 14-11 down, but England produced another confident attack from long-range to nail their third try four minutes before the break.

This time it was Odejobi who broke tackles and Cato blasted his way toward the left-hand corner before offloading inside for Eves to score.

Madigan, though, added a third penalty just before the interval to keep Ireland in the game and England anxiously holding a five-point lead.

They opened the second-half strongly with Andy Saull replacing skipper Ellis in a reshuffled back-row and finally seized control with a fourth try.

Fisher, who switched to No8, broke tackles down the left and Cox was rewarded for his support run with a score after the play was reviewed by the video ref.

Seconds later Cato seized on Goode's inside ball and accelerated past three covering defenders to claim his sixth try in five games this season.

Another Greendale and Goode combination took England close and loose-head Catt ploughed over from close range 10 minutes from time.

Ireland got on the front foot for a brief spell but they couldn't prevent England attacking from deep and Odejobi outstripped the cover to finish a length-of-the-field counter-attack five minutes from time.

Grand Slam winner Goode will now be targeting the IRB Junior World Championships in Wales in June - and breaking into Saracens' first team.


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