Sophie de Goede interview: Saracens star on target for a treble in the ‘family trade’

·2-min read
 (Saracens)
(Saracens)

Saracens Women are going for an Allianz Premier 15s "three-peat" against Harlequins at Kingsholm on Sunday.

Both sides are packed with familiar England stars who competed in the first two finals — both won by Sarries — but it is a thoroughbred Canadian import who has been catching the eye for the north London club, winning player of the match in their semi-final win over Loughborough Lightning.

Sophie de Goede admits she "really lucked out on the gene pool" when it came to rugby.

Her mother Steph, a flanker, was Canada's first national women's captain in 1987, while her father, lock Hans, led Canada at the first men's World Cup that same year. Sophie plays for Canada, as does her brother, Thyssen. Another brother, Jake, plays too.

So while De Goede also played basketball as a college student, she was destined for the oval-ball game.

"It was always around the house," she tells Standard Sport. "It was never forced on me, but I loved it straight away thankfully, and I'm just trying to add to the family trade."

Fans watch the win over Loughborough Lightning in the Allianz Premier 15s semi-final earlier in May. (Getty Images)
Fans watch the win over Loughborough Lightning in the Allianz Premier 15s semi-final earlier in May. (Getty Images)

With more rugby experience than her team-mates as a youngster, De Goede started out at fly-half, "even though maybe body-wise I was a bit big". At 16, she moved to the back-row, and it is as a No8 that she made her name.

At Saracens, however, she has been playing lock, where she is particularly effective, given the adapted laws for this season that have created such dynamic rugby. She credits her grounding as a playmaker for her own expansive style of play.

De Goede does not know whether she will return to the club next season but has loved her time there. She believes, however, that Sarries and their rivals Quins are having to work harder than ever to fend off the chasing pack.

"I think the overall quality of the league is so high," she says. "The number of internationals is mind-blowing. Just on our team alone there's a crazy amount. And the non-internationals are playing at a high level, too.

"The girls say it's the most competitive season yet. Sarries had won about 30 on the bounce and then we lost to Exeter, in their first year in the league. We lost to Wasps as well. That shows it's getting more and more competitive. London Irish and Bath are also both looking to put women's teams in for upcoming years."

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