Worcester's Andy Goode delighted to be playing with Sharks
It took new Worcester signing Andy Goode just 12 minutes to know his decision to join Super 14 outfit Sharks had been the right one – even though his first appearance for the South African franchise started late and finished early.
Coventry-born Goode came off the bench after an hour of Friday’s clash with Crusaders in Christchurch, with his team trailing 16-6 and looking to their new man to inspire a comeback.
However, less than a quarter hour later Goode was back on the sidelines having gone some way to separating All Blacks’ fly half Dan Carter from his head, with a swinging arm tackle that earned him an unwanted glimpse of referee Chris Pollock’s yellow card.
“It was just a reaction,” Goode insists. “There was no malice or anything, he stepped inside and I left my arm out. The ref was a Kiwi ref and off I went.
“Dan got up, winked and said there was no problem, it was just unlucky.”
Carter brushed himself off and led the pre-season Super 14 favourites to three more tries and a 35-6 victory that leaves the Sharks still searching for their first success after three attempts.
Which is where Goode comes in.
The Durban-based side have recruited the Sixways-bound England international to cover an injury crisis so swingeing they probably weren’t that far from picking up the phone to Moseley’s former Shark Andy Borgen.
Juan Martín Hernández, the Argentina play maker, has a back injury and is out for the season, and Steve Meyer stunned the organisation by announcing his retirement when his girlfriend curled her lip at the prospect of living in Natal’s biggest city.
Goode negotiated his immediate release from Brive and after a calamitous two-day flight from France to Canterbury, in which several connections were missed, he rolled up to face Carter et al on the back of just two training sessions.
On Saturday the former Leicester man will start against rising Wallaby star Berrick Barnes and the Waratahs in Sydney, before decamping to Canberra where Matt Giteau and the Brumbies await.
Eventually, some time in May-June-July time, he will find himself back in England as the No 10 to fulfil all of Mike Ruddock’s dreams at Worcester. Let’s hope so many journeys, do not a journeyman make.
Of that there is little prospect, though. When he does return to the West Midlands the former Bromsgrove School student will be the only England international to have played in the Super 14 and France’s Top 14.
But first a three-month Who’s Who of Southern Hemisphere rugby.
“It was an amazing experience,” Goode says. “As an Englishmen you only see the Super 14 on television and never get the full effect of what it is actually like.