Goosen back to prove his worth
Kimberley – South African Schools flyhalf Johan Goosen may be able to book his place in the Baby Boks’ team to Italy with a good performance in Douglas on Saturday.
Goosen, who was recently suspended for three months for the use of a banned substance, will be in Free State’s starting line-up for their Vodacom Cup warm-up game against Griquas.
It will be Goosen’s first match since he tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine. Springboks Chiliboy Ralepelle and Bjorn Basson also recently tested positive for the stimulant, and were initially suspended from all rugby pending their hearing. Both were later exonerated following a South African Rugby Union (Saru) hearing.
Goosen, who is the Craven Week player of the year for 2010, will want to produce a big performance to convince South Africa under-20 coach Dawie Theron that he should be in the squad that will participate in the Junior World Championship in June.
He was not considered for the initial trials by Theron because of his suspension, but may still earn a tick from the national under-20 coach.
Goosen will form the halfback pairing with 2008 South African Schools captain Pieter Rademan.
Free State coach Pine Pienaar has named a youthful, but exciting team for the match.
“Griquas will basically pitch up in Douglas with a Currie Cup team. They will definitely look to dominate us up front with big forwards,” Pienaar said on Thursday.
With the exception of Nico Scheepers (fullback), Eddie Fredericks (wing), Philip Snyman and Morgan Newman (both centres) it is a relatively young and inexperienced team that has to stand its ground against Griquas.
Scheepers, Snyman and Newman were still involved with the Cheetahs’ Super Rugby squad until recently.
“We will throw in a number of the younger players at the deep end. They will pick up some good experience against the seniors as part of the process,” said Pienaar.
One of Free State’s players whose performance will be under the spotlight is loose forward Adriaan Theisinger. He captained Free State at schools level before initially heading for Durban.
Theisinger is big and strong, and may be one of the leaders in the side.
The Free State team is: Nico Scheepers, Eddie Fredericks (capt), Philip Snyman, Morgan Newman, Robbie van Schalkwyk, Johan Goosen, Pieter Rademan, Erik le Roux, Adriaan Theisinger, Egbert Ras, Armand Koster, Fanie van der Walt, Trevor Nyakane, Elandré Huggett, Marcel van der Merwe.
Substitutes: Stephan Kotze, Schalk van der Merwe, Jannie Geldenhuys, Jeremey Jordaan, Ryno Fourie, Neil Kap, Kevin Luiters, Erick Colyn, Riaan Britz.