The Springbok flyhalf, Johan Goosen, is delighted to back in rugby after officially coming out of retirement on Monday afternoon.
Goosen, trained with the Toyota Cheetahs high performance group under the guidance of Franco Smith on Monday afternoon at Old Greys Sport Club across the road from the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein.
This ends months of speculation with regards to his career and return to the sport in the France at Montpellier. Goosen will be plying his trade in France at the club, however, he will be at the Cheetahs until the end of June where he will get game time for the side, depending on his form.
For a man that hasn’t played the game in more than a year, Goosen, was exceptionally sharp during training, and looks as if he could take to the field tomorrow.
Goosen admitted that he had a sleepless night on Sunday before falling in with his former team again.
After all the off field politics and bad press surrounding the players controversial departure from the French Top 14 club, Racing 92, he added that he is relieved to be on the field again.
“I feel like a new person, it was a very dark time in my life and I’m just glad everything has been concluded so that I can start playing rugby again,” the backline marshal told Courant.
“Franco Smith and Cheetahs are giving me the opportunity to train with them and I must say that I can also learn a lot from them.
“If I can teach these players something in return it would be nice, but I’m not at that level yet. I would like to get back to the level that I now I can reach, so there is still a lot of hard work lying a head.”
After having played 49 games for Racing 92 in France, Goosen, will be able to part with valuable experience on European conditions, something the Cheetahs can take value, especially with the team playing in the Guinness Pro14.
“I have one or two ideas of the weather seeing that I played there. I like playing running rugby and that is something that is not always easy because of the conditions.
“I learn a lot from training and playing with guys like Dan Carter. They taught to think a bit differently about the game, especially when it comes to different weather conditions”, Goosen added.
Getting to play for the Cheetahs in the coming months is also something Goosen is looking forward, but feels that he is not quite there yet, bit sees it as a goal to work towards.
“It’s something that I can strive towards over the next few months. I have to get my fitness levels and such up to standard first and to where I know it must be.
“For now I’m just enjoying being back and will be taking it one day at a time.”
Goosen has not ruled out the possibility of playing for South Africa again, but it is a matter of baby steps for now.
He represented the Cheetahs in 18 Currie Cup games and 27 Super Rugby matches before moving to France in 2014. – MORGAN PIEK