Saracens dealt a huge winter blow as Alex Goode is out until 2020
Saracens have been dealt a huge winter blow with the revelation that Alex Goode, the European Cup player of the year for 2019, will be out of action for up to four months with a pectoral tear.
The 31-year-old sustained the injury to his chest in the Gallagher Premiership opener against Northampton Saints and will now begin rehabilitation following successful surgery.
In the same match, Kapeli Pifeleti was forced off with a knee injury which will see the academy hooker sidelined for approximately ten weeks.
Centre Dom Morris is also out for a prolonged period due to a knee injury while Brad Barritt, Juan Figallo, Mike Rhodes and Max Malins are unavailable for this Sunday’s fixture at Leicester Tigers.
It amounts to a heavy casualty list for the reigning Premiership/European Cup double title holders who opened their new English league campaign with a home defeat to the Saints last Saturday.
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Mark McCall’s men are the bookmakers’ favourites to retain their league crown but are facing an early test of their strength in depth with the nucleus of the side still 6,000 miles away trying to win the World Cup with England.
The European champions have 15 players either in or returning from Japan, including their most notable off-season addition, Elliot Daly, and they have already lost tighthead prop Josh Ibuanokpe to a five-week ban for striking.
Their XV to face Leicester will see academy fly-half Manu Vunipola make the second Premiership start of his career. The England under-20 takes the No10 shirt following Goode’s injury.
Courtney Lawes has his say on Brodie Retallick's infamous 2014 gaffe ahead of the England versus All Blacks World Cup showdown https://t.co/Yv721ljUFH
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 25, 2019
No8 Jackson Wray takes the captaincy role in the absence of Goode and Barritt, leading a side with three further changes to the starting XV from the opening day.
Front row duo Richard Barrington and Tom Woolstencroft are back in the pack and Sean Maitland appears in a Saracens line-up for the first time since his return from the World Cup.
Fellow Scotland international Duncan Taylor is named as a replacement and is set for his first competitive club outing since April 2018.
WATCH: Former Saracens player Jim Hamilton previews the World Cup semi-finals in the latest episode of Don’t Mess With Jim
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