Thanks mum: Goodhue souped up for return to test team
Eddie Jones made quite a scene last weekend.
Within minutes of England squeezing past South Africa 12-11 at Twickenham, Jones clambered up on his soapbox, puffed out his chest and talked up his team’s chances of beating the All Blacks.
It was an extraordinary display of bravado. Other coaches might have taken a more humble approach, but not Jones.
His Englishmen were not going to be intimidated by the All Blacks, a team good enough to be named World Rugby’s top-ranked team for eight years running, when they meet at ‘HQ’ in London tomorrow.
Fair enough. If you don’t possess self-confidence in test footy, you may as well join the pie-eaters in a president’s grade club team.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen could have publicly questioned whether Jones had been overcome by emotion, given England didn’t score any tries and were fortunate not to concede a late penalty when Owen Farrell launched a crude tackle in the final play of the game.
Oh, no. Hansen turned the other cheek. In fact he almost welcomed Jones’ comments, saying he had every right to instil confidence in his side.
But what message will Hansen be issuing to his team behind closed doors? True, no All Blacks coach should have to say too much ahead of a test against England, but if he feels the need to lift the tension another notch he could remind the players that Jones has been yapping and ask: ‘‘What are you going to do about it?’’
England will take heart from the fact that their last two victories have been against South Africa, who beat the All Blacks in Wellington and should have done so again in Pretoria. Setting aside the fact that they lost the June series in the Republic 2-1, and finished second last in the Six Nations, England proved they don’t lack courage last weekend and the Red Rose supporters at Twickenham will want to once again play their part.
‘‘There will be 80,000 people there singing songs,’’ Hansen said. ‘‘And the only way we can quieten them is by dominating. So at some point they are going to be singing, because
PLAYER TO WATCH... BRODIE RETALLICK
The man they call the ‘Guzzler’ is back in the starting side for the first time since he injured his shoulder against Argentina in September. Given the big English pack will attempt to bash the All Blacks up front, the return of the best lock in the game couldn’t be better timed. Jack Goodhue has credited his mum’s chook soup for getting him healthy for the biggest rugby game of his life.
Goodhue, named to start at centre for the test against England, was forced to stay at home while the squad travelled to Japan for the first leg of their northern tour because of another bout of glandular fever.
The 23-year-old will make his sixth test appearance at Twickenham tomorrow, having been selected ahead of Crusaders team-mate Ryan Crotty.
Blood tests have confirmed Goodhue has fully recovered from his illness, although he did say he feared his tour might be over before it started.
‘‘If anyone knows about glandular fever, it can last a while,’’ Goodhue said.
‘‘I was getting told some horror 4am Sunday (NZ time) Twickenham Stadium, London
Live coverage on Stuff from 3.30am PLAYER TO WATCH ... BRAD SHIELDS
All sorts of emotions will be pulsing through Shields’ veins when he lines up opposite the All Blacks, the team he attempted to break into for years, for the first time. No doubt some Kiwis, particularly Hurricanes fans, will find it difficult to see the quality loose forward with the English rose on his chest. stories that you could be out for six months or something. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect but went up home to Northland, in Kawakawa, mum got me on the chicken soup and I bounced back pretty quick. I am feeling 100 per cent now and ready to play.’’
Goodhue was supposed to play alongside Sonny Bill Williams against the Springboks in Pretoria on October 7, but was forced to withdraw due to illness.
Another relative newcomer to the test scene, loosehead prop Karl Tu’inukuafe, will start because of Joe Moody suffered an eyelid injury at training.
The Tu’inukuafe story has been a popular one for the British media to keep re-telling and for good reason. Now the key for him will be to maintain his fitness over the offseason, and eradicate the bad habits that resulted in his weight ballooning to 170kg not so long ago. we won’t dominate for the whole 80 minutes.’’
The All Blacks will be good enough in the set pieces to claim their own ball. Getting their technique right at the breakdowns – shifting big opponents quickly – will be a must.
Starting Damian McKenzie at fullback to add a counter-attack from the back and share the kicking duties with Beauden Barrett is a bold move. McKenzie is sure to be tested with high kicks, and getting isolated cannot be an option.
Jones has brought Chris Ashton on to the wing in place of Jack Nowell, loosehead prop Ben Moon is rewarded with his first test start and Sam Underhill replaces injured flanker Tom Curry.
England might be conservative and lack the flair of New Zealand, but if they build momentum and get the ascendancy through their structured game they could be very difficult to stop. As South Africa discovered, if teams don’t take their chances it fuels England’s resolve.
It’s imperative the All Blacks don’t concede cheap penalties and if they are provoked, they must dance a fine line. Under no circumstances can they allow themselves to be bullied, but if they concede cheap penalties there is potential to gift Farrell an easy three points.
‘‘We saw at the weekend how important discipline is,’’ Hansen said. ‘‘It could have cost England couldn’t it? So every test match is the same, if you allow yourself to go to places you don’t need to or get over-aroused and start getting offside and those sorts of things you just give them easy points.
‘‘England has got good kickers. In games like this – everyone has to earn. You don’t want to give it to them.’’
His mum’s chicken soup helped Jack Goodhue overcome glandular fever.