Saracens motivated by past Champions Cup hurt, says Alex Goode
Last Updated: 21/04/19 6:24pm
Alex Goode says Saracens' last Heineken Champions Cup defeat a year ago helped "fuel the fire" for another concerted European title challenge.
Saracens reached their third European final in four seasons - and fourth overall - by crushing Munster 32-16 at Coventry's Ricoh Arena.
It was the English champions' eighth successive victory in the tournament this term, extending an impressive unbeaten European record since quarter-final opponents Leinster toppled them last April - and it is the men from Dublin that Saracens will face in Newcastle next month.
Among English clubs, only Leicester have appeared in more European Cup finals than Saracens, and Goode is relishing next month's final at St James' Park.
"We were disappointed to go out in the quarter-finals last year, and that helped us fuel the fire in terms of being better and having that intensity," the Saracens full-back said.
"It doesn't matter who we play, we just want to be out there in a final, which excites us. The final is going to be very hard, but it is one we are desperate to win."
Second-half tries by back-row forwards Michael Rhodes and Billy Vunipola underpinned Saracens' latest semi-final triumph, while fly-half Owen Farrell kicked 22 points - just two short of equalling Jonny Wikinson's European semi-final record.
Goode added: "It is a brilliant achievement from the whole group. We get very excited by this tournament - we love it.
"It means a lot to the club. It's a very special tournament, and to be in another final is outstanding for the whole group."
Next month's final will be just over 11 years to the day since Goode made his debut for Saracens.
"For me, this club is unbelievably special," said Goode. "It is the only club I've known, and I love being part of it. It is another campaign where we are doing very well.
"I cherish these semi-finals and finals because you never know when they are gone and, for me, it means everything being out there for this club.
"I have never played at St James' Park before and I am very excited for it - and a European final. I know how hard they are and how well you have to play."
Saracens were crowned European champions in 2016 and 2017 and they once again delivered on the big occasion, inflicting Munster's seventh successful semi-final defeat on their record 14th appearance in the last four.
There was controversy after the match as Vunipola, who has received formal warnings from his club and the Rugby Football Union in the past week after a homophobic social media post, appeared to be confronted by a spectator. A picture showed the England star being approached by a man wearing a Munster shirt, gesturing at him with his fingers as Vunipola joined teammates on a lap of honour.
Tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby described it as a "regrettable incident".