The Ospreys have offered Welsh second row James Goode the opportunity to return to regional rugby after handing him a trial at the Liberty Stadium.
27-year old Goode has spent the last three years playing Air NZ Cup rugby with Manawatu Turbos, but returned to Wales earlier this week, just days after playing in their final game of the season, a 42-16 win over North Harbour.
A member of the Grand Slam winning Wales U21 team of 2003, Cardiff born Goode came through the ranks at Cardiff Blues, making 15 appearances (12 starts) before heading to New Zealand in 2007 after a hamstring injury had disrupted his final season at the Arms Park.
Standing 2.01m tall, Goode has developed into a physical player with strong leadership qualities during his time in New Zealand, taking responsibility for Manawatu’s set-piece for the 2009 campaign.
Speaking about linking up with the Ospreys, Goode said:
“I was coming back to the UK to look for a new opportunity, I only touched down in the UK on Tuesday and almost straight away I had a call from my agent telling me the Ospreys were looking for a lock and were interested in taking me on trial.
“I originally went out to New Zealand on an off-season trip in 2007, but enjoyed it so much I went back in 2008 and stayed out there for two seasons. There are not too many foreigners playing in New Zealand, so I’m proud of what I’ve done, going out there and doing pretty well with Manawatu in the Air NZ Cup.
“It’s been a fantastic experience for me, playing a different style of game. It’s got a good intensity, and there are quality players involved at that level. I think it’s only about six of the current All Black squad that’s over here now that I haven’t played against over the last few seasons. I’ve played Magners League when I was at the Blues and I’d say that although it’s a different style of game, it’s a similar level of standard.
“I’m pleased that the Ospreys have given me an opportunity to prove myself here, now I’ve got to do what I can to convince them to make it a longer term thing. I’m coming into an environment where I know a few people and there are familiar faces so that will help me settle in.
“I know that the internationals are away, but there’s still a good squad of players here, good coaches, and I’ve been really impressed by the facilities at Llandarcy, so there’s every incentive for me over the next few months. The Ospreys reputation for player development is second to none, so I’m really excited about joining up with the group.”
Ospreys Head Coach, Sean Holley said:
“James is a Welshman who has been playing in New Zealand for a couple of years now, gaining some great experience at a good level of the game. With the number of international calls we have here and injuries to second row players like Conor McInerney Ian Evans, Lyndon Bateman and Andy Lloyd, even before we lost Ian Gough and Filo Tiatia on Thursday evening, we felt that we need some cover, and to be able to bring a young Welshman back into the fold at the region is an added bonus.
“During his time at Cardiff Blues previously, he was showing signs of developing into an extremely talented line-out forward. He’s over 2 metres tall, is of athletic build and is a proven technician at the lineout, so is a welcome addition to our squad in the short term, and it’s an excellent opportunity for him to stake a claim for a future back in Welsh rugby.”