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Dan Sheridan/INPHO Leinster attack coach Andrew Goodman.
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Goodman open to more responsibility after Lancaster leaves Leinster
The New Zealander has earned positive reviews for his work since arriving last summer.

LEINSTER ATTACK COACH Andrew Goodman says he is open to discussions about taking on increased responsibility in the province when Stuart Lancaster leaves at the end of this season.

Senior coach Lancaster will join Racing 92 next summer, having had a huge influence at Leinster since joining in 2016.

Lancaster coaches both Leinster’s overall attack and defence in a wide-ranging role that also involves working with players on their leadership skills.

Goodman joined the province last summer, replacing Felipe Contepomi as Leinster’s attack coach. That role involves overseeing the province’s set-piece attack from lineouts and scrums, as well as dealing with Leinster’s backs.

The New Zealander has earned positive reviews from Leinster’s players and is clearly a candidate to step into a more influential role when Lancaster leaves. Leo Cullen is set to remain as Leinster head coach into next season, but his role doesn’t include a huge amount of on-pitch coaching.

Goodman could run Leinster’s overall attacking shape, counter-attacking, kicking game, and set-piece attack if promoted.

If that does happen, Leinster would likely then appoint a separate defence coach. Current contact skills coach Sean O’Brien would be a candidate for that possible new role, but Bernard Jackman revealed on The42 Rugby Weekly Extra podcast yesterday that Leinster could look abroad for a defence coach, possibly in New Zealand.

Having spent two seasons with Leinster during his playing days, Goodman has been the head coach of Tasman in New Zealand and more recently worked as an assistant coach for the Crusaders in Super Rugby.

He’s now enjoying his first season as a coach with Leinster as they prepare for Saturday’s Champions Cup clash with Racing 92 in France.

“I’m loving it,” said Goodman yesterday, “loving the challenge, loving the excitement of these weeks. This is one of the main reasons I came over here – to be part of the best club competition in the world, the Champions Cup.

andrew-goodman Ben Brady / INPHO Goodman enjoys working with Lancaster. Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

“Day one of the first week heading into a game like Racing against a team that’s playing the way they are, it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to it.

“In terms of Leinster and how it’s going, the playing group that I have got to work with every day, just being able to work alongside this group of coaches and pick Stuart’s brain while he is here has been a great start for myself personally.

“I’m really enjoying the move and I’m so happy that I made the decision to come over.”

Asked whether he would embrace more responsibility if Leinster offered it next season, Goodman confirmed that would be of interest.

“Yeah, look, I’m always looking to progress,” he said. “One thing about myself, I’m not in any rush to go like that straight away.

“But obviously being able to learn off Stuart this year and take as much information off him as I can and the way he operates, yeah, I’m really concentrated on making sure I do a very good job in my role, first and foremost, but I would definitely be open to discussions in the years coming around how my progression looks at Leinster.”

Goodman was brought back to Leinster by head coach Cullen, having played with the former second row during his two season with the province from 2012 until 2014.

They stayed in touch ever since and now have a strong working relationship.

“It was probably the second year when we were both on the injured list we got to know each other pretty well,” said Goodman with a smile.

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leo-cullen-with-andrew-goodman Ben Brady / INPHO Leinster boss Leo Cullen with Goodman. Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

“We’ve been in regular contact and then there was a strong link between Crusaders and Leinster over that Covid time. We analysed each other and had some conversations and debate about who would beat each other if we were to play each other. So we were in close contact over that time. It would be interesting to see what he says now, he might have a different opinion!

“He’s been class, he does such an amazing job of linking this whole building and wider community up, little things like the 12 county tour that has connected places to the club, and the AIL and the way he links our squad together. He does an amazing job around our environment, so I’m definitely picking up lots from Leo”

Goodman is enthusiastic about how Leinster train under Lancaster, who runs the famous high-tempo, all-action ‘Stuesdays’ each week.

Funnily enough, some of the calls Leinster had back in 2012 are still used today. The biggest change for Goodman coming from New Zealand this time has been the fervour of the supporters here in Ireland.

“It’s been unbelievable support we’ve got at RDS and the Aviva. To get 45,000 against Munster… in New Zealand, we are generally waiting until finals day to get those sorts of crowds.

“So, been blown away not only the home support we have had but the away games to Connacht and Ulster, it’s been great to be part of those games and the atmosphere that comes with it.

“I’m sure it’s going to be similar over in France this week. There’s going to be a lot of noise and atmosphere, which is going to be great.”

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