South African journeyman Johan Goosen is back on the Springbok scene with inclusion in a pre-tour training camp in Stellenbosch as Jacques Nienaber and co. prepare their troops for a gruelling tour of the Northern Hemisphere which will see them do battle with the likes of Ireland, England and the French.
Goosen earned the last of his thirteen Springbok caps back in 2016. The 30 year-old has had an unorthodox career which saw him announce his retirement from rugby at the age of just 24, only to pick up the game again two years later. He has been in impressive form for Jake White’s Bulls of late and, given the current injury status of Handre Pollard and the withdrawal from the squad of Elton Jantjies, his inclusion seems fitting.
“Handre underwent an operation after the recent Leicester Tigers game,” Nienaber commented on Tuesday. “It will be tough for him to make it in time for this tour.
“Earlier this season when Handre and Elton were out, Damian stepped up nicely. He started a few games for us and then we also used Frans Steyn at flyhalf in the last game of the Rugby Championship.
“Then in our alignment camps we had Johan Goosen with us, and he was also there in preparation camps before the Wales series. He was recovering from injury, but he is now back and getting a go in the URC. So I’ve already mentioned five flyhalves, and then there are also some other players who have been performing well in the URC who we are keeping an eye on.
“So even if we have to be without Handre or Elton, we are still very comfortable with Damian, who has proven himself in the couple of Tests he played at flyhalf. Then it’s nice to have Johan who is able to fill in, and it will be good to see how he could deliver in terms of our system.”
Props: Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe (both DHL Stormers), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks)
Hookers: Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks)
Locks: Lood de Jager (Wild Knights), Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks), Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers)
Loose Forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Siya Kolisi (Cell C Sharks), Elrigh Louw (Vodacom Bulls), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs)
Utility Forwards: Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat)
Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk (Yokohama Canon Eagles), Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks)
Flyhalf: Johan Goosen (Vodacom Bulls)
Centres: Jesse Kriel (Yokohama Canon Eagles), Damian de Allende (Wild Knights)
Outside backs: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls), Sbu Nkosi (Vodacom Bulls)
Utility back: Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers)