Is Jack Goodhue ready to take on a proper test match? We’ll find out on Saturday night as the Crusaders centre has been named to start against the Wallabies in Sydney.
This side was always going to be pretty predictable, but Goodhue’s nod ahead of Anton Lienert-Brown was the one question that kept the media and rugby public guessing throughout the week.
Goodhue has been in impressive form for the 2018 super rugby champions, and it’s his pairing with Crusaders second-five Ryan Crotty in the midfield that’s seen him shine this year.
The 23-year-old was confident in his press conference today at the All Blacks’ hotel.
“I’m very excited, there’s a lot of history in this game. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance [to play in a Bledisloe Cup game], but now I do I’m going to make the most of it.” says Goodhue.
When asked what he admires in Goodhue, Crotty remarks that it's his impressive work rate.
“He’s one of the hardest working midfielders going around and his mannerisms on the field- sometimes I need to check that he’s awake, he’s so calm.” Crotty jokes.
Lienert-Brown can feel somewhat unlucky, though. He hasn’t put a foot wrong while wearing the black jersey, and had probably the most complete debut match in a test in recent memory.
That match was against the Wallabies in 2016, and he also scored a try against the Australians in last year’s comfortable Bledisloe Cup victory at Eden Park.
Goodhue, on the other hand, did show some signs of nervousness in his test debut in June against France.
However, the circumstances around that one were a little bit odd considering that the French were in complete disarray after losing the first two matches of the series.
The All Blacks were expected to pummel them and Goodhue probably felt a bit of pressure to give the ball a bit more air than usual.
The All Blacks have their final training run tomorrow at North Sydney Oval before Saturday’s test.