Springboks

Goosen grateful for second Bok chance

2016-08-17 21:30
Johan Goosen (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Utility back Johan Goosen has admitted he didn't think he would ever play for the Springboks again.

Goosen, who is expected to make his comeback to the Springbok team when the match-day squad is announced on Thursday, left South Africa at the end of 2014 to pursue his career with Racing Metro in France. Hailed as an exceptional talent from a young age, Goosen had played only six Tests for South Africa when he made the unexpected decision to go play abroad.

He was injury prone which made it difficult for him to establish himself as the first-choice flyhalf. His first season in France was very difficult for the South African and his career looked to be in trouble.

But he turned things around, becoming one of Racing Metro's most important players and subsequently earned a recall to the Springboks from new coach Allister Coetzee.

"I'm very happy to be back and looking forward to the road ahead," Goosen told the media at a press conference in the build-up to Saturday's opening Rugby Championship Test against Argentina in Nelspruit.

Goosen admitted there was a time when he thought the move to France might have been the wrong one.

"It was difficult at the beginning. I had to adapt but I wanted to do things my way. I didn't really listen to what the club wanted but in the end I was forced to adapt," he said.

Things got so bad for Goosen that Racing coach Laurent Labit publicly lambasted him for his approach, but Goosen eventually turned a corner and is now settled.

"I'm actually very grateful for the way things unfolded. I would like to return to South Africa but the move to France was necessary for my personal growth.

"Playing with someone like (former All Black flyhalf) Dan Carter has helped me a lot. He is such a great guy on and off the field as are the other former All Blacks, Joe Rokocoko and Chris Masoe."

Goosen has been injury free this past season and said playing every week helped in that regard. Since Carter joined Racing Goosen has primarily played outside centre and fullback.

"I don't care where I play. It's just a number on your back. Regardless of where I play, it will be a great honour to play Test rugby again."

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Fixtures
01 October 2016
South Africa v Australia, Pretoria 17:05
02 October 2016
Argentina v New Zealand, Buenos Aires 00:10
08 October 2016
South Africa v New Zealand, Durban 17:05
Argentina v Australia, London 20:30
05 November 2016
Barbarians v South Africa, London 17:00
12 November 2016
England v South Africa, Twickenham 16:30
19 November 2016
Italy v South Africa, Stadio Artemio Franchi 16:00
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