The Crusaders have flagged a positional change for All Black Jack Goodhue to second-five eighth as they revealed that he and his Test teammates will be available for the round 1 clash with the Waratahs in Nelson.
Crusaders assistant coach Andrew Goodman said Goodhue’s shift would allow the three-time defending champions to accommodate Brayden Ennor, who made his Test debut last year, in the midfield.
Goodhue would become even more important for the Crusaders in the absence of Ryan Crotty.
“As we’ve used him the past couple of years, he’ll be a big link for us in that 12 and 13 role with Ryan Crotty’s experience gone," Goodman said.
“Maybe looking to use Brayden a bit more at 13 this year so Jack will spend time at 12 for us.”
Highly-touted Tasman outside back Will Jordan said Goodhue was stepping up to cover for the potential leadership vacuum with Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock, Owen Franks and Matt Todd having also moved on as well as Crotty.
“It’s been great over the past week or two having the All Blacks come back into the frame, guys like Richie and Jack have really stepped up into leadership roles,” he said.
“They’ve been sort of groomed for that the last couple of years so in that sense, we’re well established in that leadership situation.”
Goodman said the Crusaders would have to be smart in how they used the World Cup All Blacks in the early rounds.
“Same as we’ve had the last couple of years, all the All Blacks are available from round one, on their minute returns,” he said.
“We’re going to have use that wisely over the next couple of weeks to make sure we get all those boys are back into footy.”
“Someone like Brayden who was an Al Black earlier in the year, he’s done his return to play in our pre-season games, but (George )Bridge, Sevu (Reece), Jack (Goodhue) and Richie (Mo’unga) are on restricted minutes coming back into the comp.”