Durban – No doubt the Springbok coaching staff would have shared Jake White’s elation at the performances of Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie, and Johan Goosen in the Bulls’ impressive 45-9 victory over a plucky Cardiff team on Saturday night.
And quite often the three Springboks worked in tandem and off each other as the backs cashed in on quality ball provided by the hard-working forwards.
The eyes of Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber would have lit up as they saw an outstanding performance at flyhalf from Goosen, the player they earmarked at the beginning of the year as a candidate for the national No 10 jersey only for injury to remove Goosen from the equation for much of the season.
Even with Damian Willemse coming through at 10, the more options for the Bok coach in this vital position, the better. And Goosen is an ace goal-kicker and that is an area where the Boks are struggling at the moment.
White was thrilled at how Goosen opened up the defence once the Bull’s forwards had softened up Cardiff.
“In the beginning, we couldn't get rhythm, and we got a lot of slow ball and we couldn't run onto the ball,” said White.
“And then as soon as we did and Goosen could run onto it, he opened up holes and we either scored or put people away.
“It’s going to get better and better the more Johan plays and the more they get to play around him, the better. Im really excited because we’re not even halfway through the competition and we’re scoring lots of tries, and we look dangerous every time our backs get the ball,” he said.
White explained that Goosen hasn’t been given as many opportunities as he would have liked at No 10 because of injury.
“He was injured, he came back, and we used him as a fullback because the team needed him more in that position, especially when we lost our Springboks.
“He needs to get game time at No 10, and if that’s the type of game he’s going to play after a limited time of running in the No 10 jersey, then we’re obviously very excited about where this can go.
“I know it and everyone knows that he is a talented player, and I can't believe he hasn’t played 50 Tests for South Africa. It is what it is, and we have to get him back into the saddle so he plays as many games as he can.”
The Bulls’ two wings, Moodie and Arendse, were on fire and scored three tries between them.
“Every time the opposition kicks the ball and Canan or Kurt-Lee catches it, you can just sense that something is going to happen, and even the crowd feels it,” said White.
“When you combine that with guys like Cornal (Hendricks) Lionel (Mapoe), Harold (Vorster), and Johan Goosen when he’s on song like he was tonight, it’s fantastic.”