Cheetahs deny Goosen's heading for Bloem
Cape Town - Cheetahs coach Franco Smith has denied rumours that the union has been in contact with Springbok utility back Johan Goosen regarding a possible move back to Bloemfontein.
The rugby fraternity was shocked late last year when Goosen’s French club, Racing 92, announced he had retired.
The 24-year-old was reported to be taking up a commercial director's job in South Africa, a decision which left the French champions fuming.
Goosen had signed a contract extension with Racing last year, increasing his salary to €500 000 (R7.27 million) per year.
It has been widely speculated that Goosen made the move in an attempt to get out of his contract with Racing 92, where he was believed to have been unhappy.
He has been linked with possible moves to the Cheetahs, as well as English club Gloucester.
But according to Smith, who was also an assistant for the Springboks on their recent European tour, there were never any talks about a return to Super Rugby for Goosen.
“In any case I thought it wasn’t possible because as far as I knew, Johan was contracted until 2020 in France. We did not make him an offer or invite him back,” Smith told Netwerk24 on Tuesday.
Goosen, who played for the Cheetahs from 2011-14, boasts 13 Test caps for the Springboks.
Racing 92 have subsequently indicated that they will initiate legal proceedings against Goosen.
A statement released by the club last week read: "Racing 92 regrets to announce that Johan Goosen has not appeared at the club for the last two days and seems to have vacated his residence at Le Plessis-Robinson.
"As far as Racing 92 is concerned, Johan Goosen still remains bound to the club by an employment contract lasting four years, while his residence, company car, locker, and place in the locker-room all remain at his disposal. To this effect, Johan Goosen remains on the list of players qualified by the EPCR to play in the Champions Cup, starting with the match between Racing 92 and Munster this Saturday.
"In response to Johan Goosen’s behaviour, Racing 92 is forced to initiate several legal proceedings aimed at enforcing its rights and redressing the harm done to the club. Racing 92 believes that the club is a victim of blatant fraud which Johan Goosen, his associates and various advisers must answer for in court.
"Various civil proceedings will be taken out, partly to obtain reimbursement of the advance payments made to Johan Goosen with regard to his image rights, and also to obtain compensation for the non-provision of services to which he had committed in this domain.
"A complaint will also be laid with the French Industrial Tribunal in order to prosecute the player’s fraudulent and wrongful failure to fulfil his contractual obligations and to compensate the resulting significant damage for the club.
"A criminal complaint will also be filed, as the open-ended employment contract produced by Johan Goosen and signed by one of his friends and business associates appears to constitute a phony document, given that it is not conceivable that a player put an end to his sporting career while at the peak of such career, and accept a position in a South African company for a salary ten times less than what he was earning as a rugby player at Racing 92.
"Full light must be shed on the responsibility of the various people who advised Johan Goosen in taking this aberrant and fraudulent strategy, and to this extent, there are grounds for wondering how Johan Goosen is being supported financially given the numerous commitments and investments he has to meet."