Springboks

Goosen ready for life at fullback

2014-11-04 09:11
Johan Goosen (Gallo Images)
Dublin - Johan Goosen has accepted the challenge of making the shift to fullback for the Springboks.

The 22-year-old has played most of his career at flyhalf, which is where he made his Test debut for South Africa off the bench against the Wallabies in Perth in 2012. It is also the position where he excelled as a schoolboy for Grey College and SA Schools and as a notable young talent for the Junior Springboks and Cheetahs.

However, he has only gone on to play four more Tests since then as a difficult run with injuries and a move to French club Racing Metro after Super Rugby has restricted his opportunities.

That was until he got a call from Springbok manager Ian Schwartz two weeks ago.

“I was a bit surprised to get the call as I knew the move to France would hurt my chances of being selected for the national squad,” Goosen told MyPlayers.co.za. “I was asked if my passport situation was organised. And when I said yes, I was asked about playing at fullback for the Springboks.

“It is a challenge I’d love to have. I’d play in any position for the team.”

Goosen will provide fullback cover to Willie le Roux, who he has a good relationship with as the two players were team-mates at the Cheetahs.

While he has impressed in the No 15 jersey for Racing during the French Top 14 this season, even scoring 10 points via a try, penalty and conversion during the club’s 21-17 loss to Oyonnax over the weekend, he admitted that there is work to be done.

“Life is very different at fullback,” said Goosen. “At flyhalf, you have to be quick on your feet and make quick decisions. While at fullback, you have more time to calculate the situation in front of you. The defence and kicking strategy is also very different, and I will need to work on those departments.

“I know Willie very well after playing together for the Boks and Cheetahs. He’ll help me settle in at fullback. I’ll also be reviewing his video footage and follow his example.”

Meanwhile, Goosen said he’s enjoying life in France.

He has recently visited many of the tourist destinations with girlfriend Aletia Kleynhans, like the Eiffel Tower, and spends time with the likes Bernard le Roux, Francois van der Merwe (both Racing Metro), Morne Steyn and Meyer Bosman (both Stade Francais).

He also keeps close contact with his family back at home in Burgersdorp in the Eastern Cape, where his parents help look after his farm.

“It’s been great learning a new culture in a new country,” said Goosen. “I won’t lie… French is a difficult language, but I am taking lessons and my French is improving every week.

“I still keep in close contact with my family. I actually just got off the phone with my mom before you called! They’re helping me with my farm, where I focus on cattle, mostly sheep. My girlfriend also visits me here in Paris whenever she can.”

For more exclusive player content, check out MyPlayers.co.za

Read more on:    springboks  |  johan goosen  |  rugby
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