Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall heaped praise on match-winner Alex Goode following his 19-point haul against London Irish on Saturday in a 26-16 English Premiership win in the United States.
Goode was released back to club duty by England head coach Eddie Jones earlier this week but the Saracens full-back responded with a superb display, kicking four penalties and scoring a try as well.
In the first ever Premiership game played overseas, the Exiles held a 13-7 half-time at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey lead thanks to a pair of Greig Tonks penalties and a superb Alex Lewington try.
However, Sarries took control after the break with Goode’s penalties sealing the win.
“He was a shining light out there today,” said McCall.
“Even in the first-half when we were very poor, he provided all the moments that mattered for us. His try came out of nothing and, in the second half, we moved him up to fly-half and he controlled things and kept the ball in front of the forwards and guided us to victory.”
London Irish head coach Tom Coventry meanwhile called on his side to become more “ruthless” following the defeat.
Irish remain rooted to the bottom of the table and are eight points adrift of 11th-placed Newcastle with six rounds remaining, but Coventry was staying positive.
“If you dwell on it for too long, we’re going to have a crew of guys that are pretty mentally sick coming to work every day worrying about what everyone’s saying,” said Coventry.
“A positive mindset is the only way going forward I can see. It’s a tough road to go when you come to work and you don’t want to be there. We’ve got to find a reason to want to play the game.
“We’ve just got to be a little more ruthless on teams. Someone said to me out there maybe every game is a Cup tie or a Test match and we’ve been treating them like that.
“We’re going to have to get a few things to go our way and we’re going to have to a much better rugby team over the next six weeks to do what we need to do.”
Despite their failure to secure a much-needed victory against high-flying Sarries, Coventry hailed the venture to the US.
“It’s been a fantastic week for us. Bar the result, it’s been really great,” added the Kiwi. “The weather has been fantastic. We got to pull a favour with the New York Jets and spend a week training at their marvellous facility.
“We’re the flagship for the Premiership, the first time off English soil to play in the US. I understand it’s the fastest growing sport here in the US. So, there’s lots of reasons to be positive, bar the result. We got to be introduced to a new stadium and a new fan base.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to put the cherry on top of the cake and get the result to make it a particularly fantastic week. But, there’s still plenty of positives to take away. Hopefully it becomes a trend that the Premiership can come and play here and be part of this incredible country.”
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