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16 April 2013; Leinster's Andrew Goodman in action during squad training ahead of their side's Celtic League 2012/13, Round 21, game against Zebre on Sunday. Leinster Rugby Squad Training and Media Briefing, Rosemount, UCD, Belfield, Dublin. Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

16 April 2013; Leinster's Andrew Goodman in action during squad training ahead of their side's Celtic League 2012/13, Round 21, game against Zebre on Sunday. Leinster Rugby Squad Training and Media Briefing, Rosemount, UCD, Belfield, Dublin. Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

16 April 2013; Leinster's Andrew Goodman in action during squad training ahead of their side's Celtic League 2012/13, Round 21, game against Zebre on Sunday. Leinster Rugby Squad Training and Media Briefing, Rosemount, UCD, Belfield, Dublin. Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

THE life of the professional sportsman can be fleeting, heroic and almost always transient.

The days of Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy – the one club man – are diminishing. Even Leo Cullen and Shane Jennings left Leinster for Leicester Tigers for two years in 2005.

There are those who leave for financial security, like Jonathan Sexton to Racing Metro, those who leave for game time, like Andrew Conway to Munster, Fionn Carr to Connacht and Jamie Hagan to London Irish.

There are those who have to listen to their body, knowing the end is nigh, like Isa Nacewa, those who are pulled, like Jimmy Gopperth and Zane Kirchner, and those who are released, like the injury-jinxed Mark Flanagan and Damian Browne, bound for newly promoted French Top-14 club Oyonnax.

Then, there are those who embrace the adventure of crossing a hemisphere, like Tom Sexton to Melbourne Rebels, back to the land of his birth.

And there are those who come the other way in search of overseas life experience through the ticket of the game, like Andrew Goodman, the quintessential journeyman.

The 30-year-old inside centre played for Honda Heat in Japan for a single season in 2009 and captained the ITM Cup Tasman Makos before taking the offer of a one-year contract at Leinster last summer. He has signed on for another season.

"They asked if I was keen. And I said that I was keen. This is the only place I wanted to be," said Goodman.

"I am coming back for one more year. I love the environment here, learning off some of the best players in the world."

While the New Zealander has flown mostly beneath the radar, there is a solid foundation to his game that marks him out as different in an under-sized Leinster back division.

There have also been 16 caps for the senior team, including the unforgettable home and away hit-outs against Clermont Auvergne as a starter.

Goodman feels very much a part of the club and is aware of the talent Glasgow Warriors will bring to Dublin for the Pro12 League semi-final on Saturday night.

"It would be great if we could get through this and hit another couple of finals at The RDS," he said.

"They have been playing some great footy this year. Looking at the stats, they've scored the most tries in the competition this year.

"They play a very open brand, offloading a lot, using the backs. Our D (defence) and our one-on-one tackles need to be on the spot to make sure we can get past this weekend."

With the consistency of selection and standards of coach, Joe Schmidt has built a house of trust inside Leinster. Everyone is valued for how they train and play.

"The great thing about Leinster is that if you are performing at training and on the field Joe (Schmidt) always gives you a chance."

In July, the transformation from Schmidt to Australian Matt O'Connor will take place. The view of the Leinster hierarchy is that this is a vote for continuity and evolution.

"I know that the incoming coach has got a very good reputation. He has done a good job over at Leicester and The Brumbies before that. He is coming really highly-rated, so we will look forward to that next year," he said.

It may be Goodman's last at Leinster. It may not. He is a realist. He knows the score. The life of the journeyman is more fleeting than most.


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