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HomeSportWATCH: Johan Goosen at fullback for Bulls: ‘No one knows what he’s...

WATCH: Johan Goosen at fullback for Bulls: ‘No one knows what he’s going to do – not even him!’ says Jake White

WATCH: Johan Goosen at fullback for Bulls: ‘No one knows what he’s going to do – not even him!’ says Jake White

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Cape Town — While Johan Goosen will be starting at fullback and not flyhalf for the Bulls against Edinburgh, coach Jake White wants the 30-year-old to “get his hands on the ball” at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (2.30pm kickoff).

The former Cheetahs star was picked in the No 15 jersey by White on Friday, despite Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber wanting to play him in the pivot position on the end-of-year tour to Europe.

But Goosen has been out of action for almost a year following his serious knee injury against Cardiff last October, and White wants to ease him back onto the pitch.

“I’m sure they (Bok coaches) would (want to see him at flyhalf), as I know he is in the make-up there. Again, we are being conservative. I could have squeezed him in last week as well, but I just think we’ve got to find the right time,” the former Bok mentor said on Friday.

“The Boks have also made it clear that they need guys that have been in the system for a long time — if you read between the lines — and that is why they’ve gone for a guy like Frans (Steyn). Not taking away anything from anyone else who has played well in the number 10 jersey during our campaigns…

“But they said they need someone who is seasoned in the way they do things, so it would’ve probably been tough for any guy — even Johan — to go in there now with one week prep, and slot in the way they want him to play. Hopefully he will play well for us before that.”

White also wanted to safeguard Chris Smith’s position in the side, as he was a solid contributor to the Bulls’ run to the United Rugby Championship final last season.

But there is room for Goosen — who actually has seven Test caps as a fullback compared to six at flyhalf — to weave his magic as well.

“What I’ve also got to say is that you want to make sure that every player feels as though he’s being looked after. A guy like Chris Smith has done nothing wrong, and I didn’t want him to feel that literally as Goosen arrives, he’s just got to give up his jersey,” White said.

“There’s a lot to be said about hope for players as well. There’s a lot of hope in terms of him wanting to play with Goosen, and I’m sure he’s looking forward to that combination as well.

“I also know that he was the Player of the Top 14 at Racing Metro, so he would probably want to play 13 as well!

“I’ve got Goosen at fullback… No one knows what he’s going to do — not even him!

“One of the things he does do — which is similar to Canan (Moodie) and Kurt-Lee (Arendse) — is that he can use his feet and he can get out of positions.

“He kicks well as well, so if he gets caught, he’s got a boot to get us out of our 22 as well. I want him to get involved as many times as he likes, wherever he wants to, and just build confidence for him going forward.

“There’s no specific role. We’ve obviously got set-plays that we run, and he knows what his role is in those plays. But the more times he gets his hands on the ball — whether it be at 10 or 12 or 13, or even outside the wingers — then that’s fine.

“My main goal is just to get him through this game, after a long injury, and then let him just be confident post-game, that he’s now back on the field and he can play for us in any position we need him.

“I know that he wants to play 10, and that’s probably where the national coaches want to see him as well — and that’ll happen. But we are going to try and control it. I rate him highly and he understands rugby enough to know that he can control when he wants to.”

@ashfakmohamed

IOL Sport

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