Jordan Larmour fit and raring to go for Leinster as Sharks visit the RDS

Leinster’s new backs’ coach Andrew Goodman has given the players a significant voice in deciding on playing style

Andrew Goodman’s return to Leinster as a coach, having previously enjoyed a short spell with the province as a player, has brought a fresh perspective and outlook to the back play, one that encourages a significant input from players.

The New Zealand native joined from the Crusaders in the summer, replacing Felipe Contepomi as backs’ coach.

A standing joke among the players is that team meetings are a little shorter, something that Jordan Larmour confirmed with a smile.

“Yeah, meetings are a bit quicker! But he’s [Goodman] been really good, he’s brought a great work-rate and energy into the group.


“The things we do, we do with a high tempo out on the pitch but he has great detail [too], just the little things we do in our moves and set plays, so he’s been brilliant so far. I think it probably shows in the results we’ve been getting too, so hopefully we can keep kicking on and growing with him.

“All coaches have their different styles in how they want to do things and one of the big things with him is he’s very open-minded. He will listen to us. A lot of the stuff we do is player feedback. It is a bit more player-led as well so it’s us talking a little bit more in meetings and things like that.

“[It is about] getting across our work early in the week, who we’re playing and what will they bring, what are their threats. So yeah, he’s been brilliant so far. I’ve really enjoyed him.”

There will be a familiar face, Noel McNamara, in the Sharks coaching team when the South African side visit the RDS on Saturday evening (5.05pm). The Clare-born, former Ireland Under-20 Grand Slam-winning head coach was also previously in charge of the Leinster academy; Larmour and Andrew Porter both had him as a coach at the Under-18 age-grade.

McNamara will be able to impart some insight into Leinster’s patterns and players but, as Larmour pointed out, not to the point where the home side are going to significantly alter their shape.

“You never really want to go away from the basics of the game because that’s what wins most of the time, set-piece dominance, playing in the right parts of the field, doing the basics well.

“They’ll be a tough team to beat but we’re not overthinking about Noel filling them in on whatever; we’re just focusing on ourselves and trying to bring the best out of ourselves.”

Having had a small issue with his knee, which forced him to miss a couple of weeks, he is fit, happy and working hard to try to nail down a starting slot. He is focused on the basics as he outlines them, “kicking, passing, tackling, high ball work and all that kind of stuff,” elevating them to the highest possible standard.

He explained: “It’s about honing what a winger has to do. As you saw on the weekend, it’s all about our kick chase and making that first initial tackle, then chasing a kick and trying to catch it.

“So, I suppose, keep improving those areas and then off the back of that, hopefully big moments come to you, and you just take your chance, and you play on instinct, you’re not overthinking how to beat a player, you just do it. But I’m just trying to think about doing those basics really well.”

Playing in the Maori games during the summer reaffirmed a desire to get back in the national side but to fulfil that ambition starts with high-calibre displays in the blue of Leinster. The next opportunity is Saturday’s game at the RDS.

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer