The Rugby Pod co-host Andy Goode has revelled in last weekend’s Championship opening round defeat for Saracens, the former out-half claiming the 25-17 win for Cornish Pirates at Mennaye Field was a sharp reminder to Gallagher Premiership clubs that it would be terribly wrong if they ring-fenced the top-flight long term.    

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There will be no relegation to the Championship from this season’s 2020/21 Premiership as the authorities have decided to instead run a 13-team league next term. 

But the retired Goode, who numbers Saracens among his list of many clubs, is adamant the opportunity for outfits such as Pirates to aspire to get to the Premiership must not be killed off in the long-run by having a closed shop following this season’s promotion of one team.  

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Saracens named a starting XV that showed seven changes from the side which played in their last Premiership match 22 weeks earlier, a home draw with Bath on October 4. But even with the likes of Scotland wing Sean Maitland and World Cup-winning Springboks prop Vincent Koch involved, they still couldn’t get off to a winning start in the second tier. 

“I had to have a couple of Cornish pasties to celebrate an amazing victory,” enthused Goode on The Rugby Pod at the expense of co-host Jim Hamilton, who finished his career with the London club when winning a second successive Heineken Champions Cup in 2017.  

“People will say Saracens had all their internationals missing. No, they didn’t. They had seven internationals playing with 165 caps. Now, let’s not talk about Saracens, let’s make this all about Cornish Pirates. We have talked on here time and time again about ring-fencing. It ain’t going to be a walk in the park, Saracens, down in the Champo. You have seen they have lost to Ealing already in pre-season but here are the real games, the league has started. 

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“Tip the slipper to the Cornish Pirates. They are after a new stadium, they have got permission I believe. They want entry to the Premiership at some point. It’s an amazing result. Whether you’re a Saracens fan or not – and obviously Saracens fans are going to hate the fact that they lost down there – it’s amazing for the game that a Championship team can still compete with the big boys. 

“Yes, there were a lot of players missing, don’t get me wrong, and there might be a big gulf over a season, but there is still potential for these teams to still want to play in the Premiership and that is why in the long-term we have to keep the door open in the Premiership to promotion and relegation.”

       

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