The return of Andy Goode

Here’s the England line-up for the game against Italy on Saturday, with Andy Goode lining up at fly-half.

Mike Tindall returns in midfield and Steffon Armitage will win his first cap.

Any thoughts? Is it a Goode decision at fly-half?

England team:
D Armitage (London Irish); P Sackey (Wasps), M Tindall (Gloucester), R Flutey (Wasps), M Cueto (Sale Sharks); A Goode (Brive), D Care (Harlequins); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), L Mears (Bath), P Vickery (Wasps), S Borthwick (Saracens, capt), N Kennedy (London Irish), J Haskell (Wasps), S Armitage (London Irish), N Easter (Harlequins).

Replacements: D Hartley (Northampton), J White (Leicester), T Croft (Leicester), J Worsley (Wasps), B Foden (Northampton), S Geraghty (London Irish), M Tait (Sale Sharks).

12 thoughts on “The return of Andy Goode

  1. Regression. That’s what the inclusion of Goode is. Sit back in the pocket and bring out a variety of kicks all day long – great, looking forward to watching that attacking spectacle. Even a fit Flood shouldn’t be included – let’s prevail with Cipriani and let him cut down his errors and find his place in the team, he’s the one to lead England forward.

    The front row looks solid now, and glad that Kennedy’s back in (did anyone see him destroy the Gloucester line-out at the weekend)? Also glad that Noon’s out – haven’t seen much of Tyndall recently so I hope the commentators are correct in saying he’s back to his best. Would have preferred to see Simpson-Daniel back in though instead of Cueto, who I think lacks the attacking edge and off-the-spot spark that we need.

    How exciting does the bench look? Finally we have what looks like some impact players. White to add solidity and wreck a tired opposition scrum; Hartley & Croft to drive the pack forward in the loose and provide pivots for quick ball; Worsley to shore up the defence, especially the 10/12 channel (with a not particularly strong Goode / Flutey combo); then Foden, Geraghty and Tait in the backs. Personally, I wouldn’t have Geraghty, but he is highly rated and can cover 10/12. Glad Tait’s in the fold as he is another who should have seen plenty more caps to date, although he could be short of match-practice.

    Again, I’d like to see Simpson-Daniel, who could cover 13/11/14/15 but can see the argument of having the others.

    Overall, very disappointed to see Goode in there, but apart from that it seems a step in the right direction…though how many times have we said that!

  2. Beyond speechless. In what possible way does Goode offer more than Cipriani, Geraghty, Lamb, Barkley, Hodgson etc? The whole fly half thing is an absolute mystery. Flood would have started had he been fit but he’s in just as poor form as Cipriani, if not worse and is fundementally not as good a player. If Flood gets considered then why not Cipriani? I can really only think something Cipriani has sad or done/not done has seriously ticked off the England management.

    Cipriani may be in poor form but he is regarded as the long-term 10 and by treating him as they are they are not doing him any favours. It just means that when he does come back into the team there will be even more pressure on him and his error count will suffer.

    The opposition must be licking their lips at the prospect of facing Goode. He’s got the build and looks of a snooker player and about as much gas. He probably won’t be able to play the whole championship because he will be needed at the Crucible in April. He is one-dimensional and while his kicking is generally very good, he does have pretty spectacular off-days, often on the big occasions.

    It casts doubt over the whole selection process. What is the point in having someone like Geraghty in the squad if, when it comes down to it you bottle picking him and bring in someone from outside? Just can’t see any logic at all there.

    Other than that, not too bad. Sinbad and Tait probably need a bit more gametime and once they get it I think they’re classier players than Sackey and Cueto.

    Key player – Tindall. Not everyone’s cup of tea but provides so much shape to a team. I just hope Goode gets the ball to him

  3. I can just about understand the one reason that Goode is the only English qualified fly-half to have played consistently well in the past few months but this selection decision will only be vindicated if Goode is picked for the whole six nations (assuming he stays fit). If either Geraghty or Cipriani gets asked to start against the other nations then it makes what is a questionable decision appalling.

    I know the Italians are getting stronger and stronger but if Johnson believes that Cipriani or Geraghty have a starting role to play for the rest of the competition he should have given one of them a start against Italy.

    Both of them can be so much better than Goode on their day and we want them to get back to their best so that they can help shape the team for the next 3 years!!

    I agree with Cueto being picked as he has been in fantastic form and could be a long term installment in the team.

    Still would love to have seen a Tait/Tindall centre combination or Tait on the other wing instead of Sackey.

    Surely what we want is for players who have the potential to be world class to be playing together in the same team.

    Foden/Cipriani/Geraghty/Tait/Tindall are to me, the only backs who have the potential to be world class (and Tindall already is/has been world class) so lets get them in the team and playing regularly together.

  4. I’ve got similar concerns around continuity of selection. Goode is probably goode enough to take on Italy, but this decision means that he is likely to face Wales the following week, and they ought to take him apart.

    Good to see Tindall back – I think he’ll bring more leadership than Noon without losing much in defence and he might operate more effectively with Flutey than Noon did in the Autumn.

    Really keen to see Hartley get some game time over the next few weeks. Mears doesn’t tick all of the boxes for me and he hasn’t nailed down his position – Hartley has been talked about for a long time now, so I reckon it’s his turn to get a run of games.

  5. Only just recovered enough from the shock to be able to type. Unbelievable. If you’re going to dredge up an old player, it should at least be one with a lot of caps that’s performed consistently (and at least reasonably) well in the England shirt before. If you haven’t got such a player, you may as well pick someone on good form, which would probably be Myler as the best of a bad lot. I’d rather have seen Barkley though to give us a balance of international experience and quality.

    Stuart I agree with you to an extent about why is Flood picked ahead of Cipriani when he’s no more fit or in form than him, but maybe Johnno just doesn’t want to pile pressure on Cipriani and risk ruining a bright future, whereas he’s already decided that Flood will never cut it.

    I nearly bought tickets to this game but I was put off by the £77 price tag for some pretty poor tickets in the South Lower – I’m so glad I didn’t now!

  6. I agree with James, Goode may help you win against Italy but it would have been better to give Cipriani or Geraghty some confidence and to stand a chance against Wales we need our best players possible on the pitch. I have heard rumours that Cipriani did poorly in the fitness assessments in Portugal though and I feel a little bit sorry for Goode who is a fine kicker and distributor but just isn’t international class.

    I thought that the one consolation of the autumn internationals was that inexperienced players were learning harsh lessons but the recalls of White and Goode suggest to me that Johnno is absolutely desperate for a win of any kind. I’d have preferred to see Geraghty at 10. Still, some exciting players on thebench that would have only been enhanced by Simpson-Daniel cheeking in.

  7. Surprised to see Croft on the bench and Armitage starting. Croft has the potential to be real world class in my view, and I think Armitage is a long way behind and would prefer to have one of Croft/Haskell start at 7.

    I may be in the minority thinking a run in the Saxons will do Cipriani good. There are some serious question marks over his attitude. He’s been compared to Jonny in his early years, but Jonny’s ruthless commitment and professionalism was what ensured he realized his potential, and Cipriani seems too distracted. Apparently he’d rather spend his evenings cuddling up to Kelly Brook than practising kicks in the cold January wind (how weird). I like the way the Welsh management have handled Hook and Henson too.

    But GOODE?! I agree with everyone else, he would probably be my (reluctant) 6th choice, after Hodgson (who sure as hell should never play for England again). I bet he wears that ridiculous fluorescent orange undershirt, too.

  8. I don’t think Cipriani’s attitude to rugby should be called into question. He is as passionate and hard-working as Wilkinson but has a life outside the sport too. I don’t think (and correct me if i’m wrong) he’s ever missed any club or country training time but he’s sensible enough not to overtrain.
    On the field he is a leader, assertive and talented. He has yet to iron out his defensive and touch-kicking deficiencies but that can come in time.

    Goode might be a good fantasy rugby selection for this week as we may be kicking a lot of penalties to secure the win if Johnson’s tactics are what we think they will be.

  9. On a side-note, has anyone seen the Saxons team for the weekend? Looking pretty useful with some decent players and a lot of pace. Looking slightly frail for me in the 2nd row and centre, which I guess mirrors the first team, but a very exciting team with plenty of talent nonetheless.

    Glad to see the full Quins back row getting their deserved chance.

  10. Have to say I am disappointed to see Goode starting. He has been playing very well for Brive which is good to see, but on the international scene he has very little experience and nearly always plays a kicking game which yet again means our backs will be given no chance to run with ball in hand and show what they can do. I really do hope Goode does have a good game, not just for the nations sake but also for his confidence, but I seriously doubt he is being considered as a long term option for the position so I am confused with his inclusion. Glad to see Cipriani demoted to the Saxons though (I know I’m probably in the minority on this one – sorry). At club level he is superb, no question about that, but his error rates at international level is so high, I think a run in the saxons to build up his experience and confidence is a brilliant idea. I also agree with Matt in regards to his attitude. True he doesn’t miss training sessions etc etc, but he never gives me the impression that he works hard to develop the weaker areas of his game i.e. set kicking etc etc, like other great names in the game do i.e. wilko, carter. Geraghty in my opinion should be starting at 10!

    Other than that, fairly happy with the selection. Just be interesting to see what type of game plan we go for! Got a feeling I already know the answer to that though

  11. Hope Goode is picked for the Wales game too , that’s just what we need Shane , Byrne , Halfpenny , Phillips , Henson etc etc to be able to run at a prop shaped outside half , rubbing my hands already at the thought :-)

  12. the only thing that worries me more than the selection of goode is the prospect that he may have a good game…

    just checked the handicaps for games this weekend, england are getting a 14-16 points start depending which bookie you go to; ireland slight favourites with 2-4 point start and wales 4-6 pt faves over scots. is it treacherous to admit to quite fancying italy to beat us at 8/1?

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