Jack Goodhue's burgeoning rugby journey crescendos into a starting centre spot in the All Blacks at Forsyth Barr Stadium tomorrow night.

The 23-year-old has been long impressing All Blacks selectors and finally gets a chance to stamp his claims outside the returning Sonny Bill Williams against France.

Hailing from Kawakawa, Goodhue has been earmarked for a while to be New Zealand's next midfield option and after strong campaigns for Northland and the Crusaders, the starting position felt like an inevitability.

Coach Steve Hansen said Goodhue has been on the radar and now he gets an opportunity to impress.


"Jack has been with us on a few occasions now, but hasn't had the chance to run on for a test match," he said.

"He played well for us against the French Barbarians last year. So we'd really like to see him out on the pitch, see what he can bring.

"He's a very mature young man, there's no doubt about that. I don't want to use the word 'overconfident' but he has a lot of self-belief and it's justified.

"It's not a cockiness, it's just an inner belief in who he is as a person and I think that reflects in how he plays."

Jack Goodhue (second from left) with fellow All Blacks midfielders Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams and Ngani Laumape at training. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Jack Goodhue (second from left) with fellow All Blacks midfielders Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams and Ngani Laumape at training. Photo / Brett Phibbs

It hasn't been a smooth ride to the top but he's earned the right to wear the same jersey as All Blacks greats Joe Stanley, Frank Bunce, Tana Umaga and Conrad Smith.

NZ U20s

Goodhue's initial taste of national representation came in the same way as many of today's All Blacks - the New Zealand U20 squad.

In 2015 Jack, along with twin brother Josh and All Blacks Atu Moli, Ricky Riccitelli, Akira Ioane, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and Anton Lienert-Brown, took out the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Italy.


Goodhue was utilised in five matches, scoring twice and captaining the side on one occasion.

Canterbury and injury setbacks

Goodhue made his Mitre 10 Cup debut for Canterbury in 2014 despite not making the initial squad.

He appeared in a quintet of fixtures before having his season cut short due to concussion.

The following season wasn't much better on the injury front for the midfielder, playing just two games before suffering ACL and MCL knee injuries which saw him spend nearly a year on the sidelines.

Establishing Mitre 10 pedigree, Crusaders beginnings

2016 was the first season Goodhue had a real opportunity to impress.

Three tries in 11 appearances helped Canterbury to the title, and the side eventually beat Tasman (whose side included fellow debutant Shannon Frizell in the lineup) 43-27 in the final.

After impressing during the provincial competition, Goodhue was given an opportunity in the midfield partnering steadfast All Black Ryan Crotty and immediately caught the eye of pundits and selectors alike.

Crotty's influence was huge on the United Kawakawa player, making sure he stayed vocal out on the field.

"Ryan Crotty has been really great at that, he just demands that I talk, as do all the wingers," Goodhue said last year.

His form warranted his selection as injury cover for the All Blacks during the British and Irish Lions series ahead of incumbent Malakai Fekitoa.

Return to the Taniwha

Goodhue's first season for Northland was a successful one, winning the Duane Monkley Medal. Photo / Getty Images
Goodhue's first season for Northland was a successful one, winning the Duane Monkley Medal. Photo / Getty Images

Much to the delight of the Taniwha faithful, Goodhue signed with Northland in 2017 and his impact was swift.

"I always wanted to come back and I'm really glad I made that decision. They're a great bunch of guys and I'm really looking forward to playing with them," he said.

"I'm just trying to play my game. The team is good enough; I just have to do my part."

Goodhue was a major factor in Northland's run to the Championship semifinals, winning the Duane Monkley Medal as player of the year.

All Blacks call-up

The Northlander was rewarded for a terrific 2017 with a call-up for the All Blacks Northern Tour, which he found out about while having a cup of tea with his grandparents.

"To be officially named in the All Blacks squad is a dream come true. I'm not taking anything for granted and it's another step up to actually get on the field but that's the goal," he said at the time.

His departure for Europe was delayed by a case of the mumps but once he got there, he made his first appearance in the All Blacks jersey against the French Barbarians.

Other than a yellow card, Goodhue showed the traits the selectors had seen in him throughout the season - vision, defensive strength and consistency.

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said it was just reward to be picked.

"Jack was with us during the Lions series and he's a very impressive young man," he said.

"Jack's backed up from an outstanding Super Rugby season. He's showed he has some great preparation systems off the park and that's delivering weekly results."

A test debut

Now Goodhue is just a day out from his test debut, playing outside the experienced and recovered Williams.

The eyes of Northland will be firmly fixed on their TVs as the All Blacks attempt to cement a series sweep of the French.

This will be one of many tests in the All Blacks jumper for Goodhue but few will be more special.