Alex Goode praised Chris Ashton’s winning mentality as the red-hot Saracens duo take aim at an historic domestic and European double in today’s Aviva Premiership Rugby final against Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham.
Ashton’s nine tries in five Aviva Premiership Games since returning from suspension have not been enough to clinch an England recall, but his back-three colleague and Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Season Goode had nothing but admiration for his prolific teammate.
Goode himself is in a rich vein of form, scoring four tries in 15 league games and tormenting opposition defences all year alongside Ashton and Chris Wyles – the two wingers grabbing a brace each in their 44-17 semi-final win over Leicester Tigers.
And Goode maintains that Ashton is the ideal teammate and a fierce competitor.
“I love playing with him, I find him brilliant to play with week in, week out. He has been great for us,” the 28-year-old full-back said.
“Chris is highly motivated to win and that was a major reason for him coming to Saracens, he wants to come away with silverware and win with this group as much as anyone.
“He is just about doing his job well and carrying on the form he has been in, in that sense both wingers are doing fantastically well for us.”
Saturday will see Saracens play their fifth Aviva Premiership Rugby final in seven seasons and having started the last four, Goode knows the showpiece better than most.
Despite his vast experience, Goode knows that his nerves will still be tingling as he prepares to run out at Twickenham, but the motivation to clinch a third domestic crown alongside those who suffered heartbreaking losses in 2010 and 2014 is more potent than any stage fright.
“We have been to Twickenham, we have had losses, we had wins and we’re a stronger side for that,” he said.
“You are still nervous for big games, nerves are a good sign. You care, you want to do well and you have got that extra buzz, but usually once you get out there they disappear fairly quickly.
“This team has grown throughout the last four or five years and so it would be a massive well done to us and the guys that have worked so hard. The coaches, the supporters, the owners.
“To do it with this group of guys would be unbelievably special. Saracens is the only club I have ever known, I love being part of it and have done throughout.”
If you want to be at the world's biggest club rugby final, this year's Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on Saturday 28 May at Twickenham, tickets are available from premiershiprugby.com/final