An unusual route to Leinster's centre
“The whole set-up has been outstanding from the coaching to the players, trainers and physios; it’s just amazing. You can see why they have had so much success. The boys have been very helpful in getting me sorted with the plays and making me feel welcome. It makes you want to play hard for that jersey. I was really proud to have that opportunity to go and play a Heineken Cup game for Leinster.
“Coming over here with Darce (Gordon D’Arcy) and Brian (O’Driscoll) in the midfield I knew my chances might be a bit limited but with the injuries I have to try and take the opportunities when they come. I love the way Leinster play.
“Joe (Schmidt) is a great thinker on the game. He has got some awesome plays. There are still things I am learning, things that I need to get right. I’ll keep working hard at those.” The week prior to the game in Stade Marcel Michelin dragged a little because of the Sunday kick-off for someone desperate to experience the tournament.
“I’m still feeling it now. As soon as you get tackled by one guy two others would come in and smash you. The ground was quite heavy so it was hard on the legs. I had to take a few deep breaths from time to time. There are a few mistakes I made that I want to fix up.”
His team-mates had warned him what the atmosphere would be like but it was at a backs meeting during that week that he realised the magnitude of the challenge. As they watched analysis clips of the likely Clermont starting team it dawned on him that two former All Blacks, Benson Stanley and Regan King, couldn’t make the walk-on side.
He loved the atmosphere in France – at 17,000, it was the biggest crowd he’s played in front of – but admits he’s relishing the prospect of showcasing his talent in front of 50,000 supporters. He adapted impressively to the demands in Clermont but he’s adamant there’s plenty of scope to take it further.
His partner, a teacher, arrives on St Stephen’s Day, once her teaching commitments for the year are over and when asked about his long term goals,” he responds. “I’d love to be here as long as I can.”
Days like today at the Aviva Stadium are going to provide a benchmarking process for that ambition.
Andrew Goodman Details
Position: Centre/Outhalf Birthplace: Nelson
Height: 1.88 (6’2”)
Weight: 102kg (16st)