An unusual route to Leinster's centre
He’d been to Ireland before, 2008 to be precise, when in the company of a couple of mates he followed the New Zealand tour to Europe, taking in the Test match at Croke Park and also the memorable clash between Munster and the All Blacks at Thomond Park.
“That was an amazing experience in Limerick. The silence for goal-kicking made a huge impression. You could hear a pin drop. Stephen Donald had a hard night coping with it.”
He managed to squeeze in a bit of sight-seeing – Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College – and because his two mates had never been to university, the backpackers mingled with UCD students, even popping in for a lecture or two. He spent a couple of days catching up with a friend, Hadley Dryden, who was playing rugby with Boyne.
Rugby and teaching
Hindsight would suggest rugby and teaching were always likely to feature strongly. His dad John, now retired, was principal at Nelson College while mum Trish still teaches at a primary school. He has two brothers – Nick, older, teaches business English at Seoul, South Korea and Chis, younger, works in sports administration back in Nelson – and a sister, Jane, who lives in Hamilton.
He laughs at the suggestion that being dispatched to the principal’s office carried a greater personal risk. He played on the first XV in rugby – All Black prop Wyatt Crockett was a team-mate – and XI in cricket under his father’s tutelage.
His childhood rugby hero was Michael Jones, while Frank Bunce and Andrew Mehrtens also captured his affection. Rugby was a passion. His education continued at Otago University where he studied physical education and teaching.
During his five years in Dunedin he played for the famous Southern Club before joining new franchise the Tasman Makos (an amalgamation of Marlborough and the Nelson Bays) in 2006. He admitted: “I always wanted to play professional rugby. It didn’t really happen for me until my mid-20s but it is satisfying that hard work pays off.”
In 2009 Goodman received an offer from Suzuka-based Honda Heat in Japan. The word was the ITM Cup was going to be cut back to 10 teams and the Makos might lose out. It nudged Goodman to find his passport and embrace the Japanese sabbatical.
“The week after I signed they said that Tasman was staying in the competition. That was a bit of a hard one to swallow. I have no regrets. It was a good year over in Japan.”
Quite an impression
He returned to Tasman and this season became the fourth player to win 50 caps: in 53 matches he’s scored 288 points.
Leinster have made quite an impression and not just the ‘few dark ales’ in the company of his team-mates on a night out during a recent week off.