Andrew Goodman returns to a familiar place with some new ideas to add to the Leinster mix

Published date20 September 2022
Publication titleIrish Times: Web Edition Articles (Dublin, Ireland)
Goodman, who came to Dublin 10 years ago, became a teacher and taught as well as played with Tasman and James Lowe, who, he says "as you know is full of noise and energy"

He lined out for Leinster for an injury-hit couple of seasons from 2010, when both Johnny Sexton and Leo Cullen were still players, while several others now in the team were fresh faces in the academy.

The teacher then became a Tasman and Crusaders coach. A decade on, he may be unfamiliar to some of the players, but the players are not foreign to him.

"Leo just moved from captain up to the main chair," says Goodman. "The younger boys who were in the academy, when I was a player, are senior players in the squad leading the group around the field.

"It's been cool to see that growth. Obviously, the way Leinster and Ireland have been playing over the last few years, I have been keeping a close eye on the lads I know well."

His Irish connections are more dispersed than just Leinster. At Crusaders he worked alongside Ronan O'Gara, who spent a couple of seasons as assistant coach before moving on to European success in France as head coach with La Rochelle.

O'Gara experienced excellent results in his first season in Christchurch, with the Crusaders winning a ninth Super Rugby title, before defending the title in the 2019 season, securing it for a record 10th time in his final match as part of the staff.

Like O'Gara, Goodman comes to Ireland understanding the nature of the each- way transaction. He will give a little bit of New Zealand to Leinster and take a little bit of Ireland home with him.

"I have two young lads, three and five, and a pregnant wife, so it was a big flight, and a big decision to leave the Crusaders," he says. "It was one I had to think over for a long time. Leo was pretty persistent on the phone, but I let the Crusaders know straight away on the first phone call, and they were very supportive and kind of understood the reasons why I would seriously consider coming back to here.

"At the stage I'm at in my coaching career, having been involved with Tasman and the Crusaders and the way they play, I saw it as an opportunity, selfishly, for me to come over here and grow as a coach as well, to learn off some amazing coaches.

"I think...

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