Baby Boks giving Goose(n) bumps
Injured Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen might not be playing in the IRB U20 Final, but he remains proud of his fellow Baby Boks.
Injured Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen might be disappointed by not playing in the 2012 IRB Junior World Championships, but, nonetheless, he remains proud of his fellow Baby Boks.
"When the Baby Boks played against England I got goose bumps," said Goosen about the match at the Cape Town Stadium on June 12.
"To come back from being behind 0-3 at half-time and then score four tries against England and win [28-15] doesn't just happen [by accident]. It was a surprising match and things started going well from there. The Baby Boks are playing with more composure now."
Of course, the Junior Boks needed a four-try win against England to qualify for the semifinals. Afterwards, the Bokkies reached their first-ever JWC Final with a clinical 35-3 triumph over the previously unbeaten Argentina at Newlands on Sunday evening.
Now they will meet New Zealand, also known as the Baby Blacks, for the final at Newlands on Friday.
The Baby Blacks have won the JWC every time over the last four years.
"England were in the finals against New Zealand last year. I believe South Africa can take it this year," said a confident Goosen.
"New Zealand play a quick running game and they have good players to do that. Their backline is really good and they play the ball wide. SA must not kick unnecessarily.
"But at this stage there is actually no comparison between the two," added the young pivot, "the Baby Boks are playing better rugby and they have home-ground advantage. But, at the end of the day, a final is still a final."
The Baby Boks suffered a surprise 19-23 defeat in their first 2012 JWC fixture at hands of the young Irish team in Stellenbosch. Yet, by the looks of things that loss inspired the team to fight back harder than ever.
"The Ireland match did not go according to plan. I was in the Baby Boks' camp in early January and know the guys did not do what the coach expected of them. [Coach] Dawie [Theron] knows what he is doing," Goosen said.
He added: "SA had three injured scrumhalves at that stage against Ireland and I believe the nerves of the first game also counted for something.
"It was actually a good thing they lost that match, because then they stepped up. It was just one of those days nothing worked out for them and they were not clinical enough."
Burgersdorp-born Goosen is truly excited about the Junior Boks making the final.
But were it not for the unlucky shoulder injury which he sustained in the Cheetahs' Super 15 fixture against the Highlanders on April 28, Goosen would no doubt have been taking the field with them against the Baby Blacks this weekend.
The 19-year-old admitted: "I miss it now that I am not there. I don't really want to watch their games now that I am injured and can't play myself, but injuries are not in our [players'] hands.
"[But] I believe the guys who are there deserve to be there and I am happy for what the guys have achieved thus far."
By Stefan Lotter