The former Springbok flyhalf, Johan Goosen, will be making his highly anticipated return to rugby on Friday night when the Toyota Cheetahs host Munster in the Guinness Pro14.
Last month Goosen started training with the Cheetahs after his shock “retirement” from the sport in December 2016.
When he started training in Bloemfontein the Cheetahs did indicate that he would be eligible for selection, pending on his form. They also did indicate that he will only be at the team on for short while before returning to France to resume his career at Montpellier.
On Thursday the Cheetahs head coach, Rory Duncan, named Goosen at flyhalf for the crunch match against Munster. This did raise some eyebrows, however, an insider at the Cheetahs informed Courant, that Goosens’ ability to find a gap in a tight situation and his ability to read the game when on defensive was the reason for his selection. They team did also feel that Goosen and Niel Marais at centre linked up well and the pair have a good understanding.
Speaking to Courant, the Munster coach, Johann van Graan, conceded that he had been targeting this game from the word go, and added that the surprise inclusion of Goosen, with give them something extra to think about and deal with.
“I was fortunate to have coached him at the Springboks, I was there for his first Test in Perth against the Wallabies. I was there for his first big kick against the All Blacks in Dunedin, as well as that fantastic Test in 2012 against Australia at Loftus Versfeld.
“Then he had one or two injuries, then came back into the Springbok fold and scored one or two magnificent tries, I’m think against that try against Argentina in Nelspuit.
“He has great goal kicking ability and he has got unbelievable pace off both feet. Goose is a world class player and I’m sure that he will fit right back into the Cheetahs way.
“He is someone that we are going to have to focus on because of his attacking threat and his goal kicking ability.
“That being said, the Cheetahs have got quality all around the park. I’m very impressed with the way Torsten van Jaarsveld has being playing, Ox Nche is having an unbelievable season, following up the from last season.
“Uzair Cassiem is just a fantastic rugby player, Oupa Mohoje is in the mix. Reniel Hugo has been playing some decent rugby and is running the Cheetahs lineout well.
“Francois Venter, I respect as a human being and as captain. I believe he is the heart and soul of the team. They also have some threats coming from the bench as well. We will definitely be tested on Friday nights, and it’s a challenge we are looking forward to.”
Friday evening’s game between the Cheetahs and Munster at the Toyota Stadium kicks off at 19:35.
Toyota Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Niel Marais, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements – 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19, Rynier Bernardo, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 AJ Coertzen.
Munster – 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Sammy Arnold, 12 Dan Goggin, 11 Darren Sweetnam, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 James Hart, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Jack O’Donoghue, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Billy Holland, 4 Gerbrandt Grobler, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Brian Scott.
Replacements – 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Dave O’Callaghan, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Rory Scannell. – MORGAN PIEK