Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Goode Move Is a Risk Worth Taking for the Lowly Falcons

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Goode Move Is a Risk Worth Taking for the Lowly Falcons

Article excerpt

Byline: TRY TIME Rugby talk with MARK SMITH

GENIUS or panic. The jury is still out on Newcastle Falcons' decision to bring Andy Goode out of retirement, but it has certainly got people talking.

The 35-year-old last played a competitive game of rugby more than seven months ago, signing for London Irish in the summer but retiring in the first week of September without kicking a ball for the Exiles.

Citing a failure to recover from two off-season operations as the reason, a phonecall from Falcons boss Dean Richards while he was out walking his dog started the cogs turning again about a possible comeback.

Followers of London Irish were understandably aggrieved that a player who had committed to their cause is now going to be engaged in a relegation battle against them, having recovered from what they were led to believe were insurmountable injury problems.

Goode, for his part, insists he gave Irish first refusal on his services once he had made the decision to return, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary you have to take him at his word on that.

The former England cap will certainly be assured a hot reception should he play in next Sunday's basement battle at the Madejski Stadium, not that he nor Newcastle will care.

The only question that matters is whether or not the move is a sensible one.

Mike Delany's knee ligament injury sees the former New Zealand fly-half out until March, but Tom Catterick has 48 Premiership appearances to his name and Craig Willis stole the show in Saturday's starting league debut at Leicester. With Juan Pablo Socino also able to operate at No 10 it is not as if the cupboard is bare, and even in his prime Goode is a player who never operated at the leaner end of the fitness spectrum.

People in glass houses, and all that, but his assertion that he is doing 'bits and bobs' hardly smacks of a player ready to throw himself straight into a full-on relegation battle. But for all the concerns over legs and lungs there are equal counter-arguments. …

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