Goosen learnt from the best

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 12:21
Large johan goosen boks nelspruit 800

INTERVIEW: Springbok utility back Johan Goosen says playing in France with some of the world's best players has helped his game a lot in the last two years.

Goosen joined Paris club Racing 92 from the Cheetahs in 2014. In the same year, Goosen also played his last Test for the Springboks on their end-of-year tour.

The 24-year-old has impressed with his performances in France, particularly in the 2015/16 European season when he helped Racing win the French Top 14 title and reach the European Champions Cup Final, which they lost to Toulon.

Goosen's club teammate, All Black legend Daniel Carter, is just one of the many players Goosen has learnt from in his time in France.

"Dan [Daniel Carter] is a great guy on and off the field," Goosen told reporters in Nelspruit. 

"He has a lot of experience, over a 100 Tests. There are also guys like Joe Rokocoko, Chris Masoe - those guys are legends on the field and you can learn a lot from them. Playing with them helped me a lot."

Goosen's versatility in the backline makes him an important addition to Allister Coetzee's Springbok squad, especially with fullback Willie Roux and flyhalf Patrick Lambie unavailable.

Goosen has performed well at flyhalf, centre and fullback for Racing and he is ready to perform a similar utility role for the Springboks during the Rugby Championship.

"It is just a number on your back. Whether I play in the No.15 or No.13 jersey for the Boks it will be a huge honour. 

"No.10 and No.15 is almost the same in terms of kicking and tactics, so it doesn't matter where I play. 

"Wherever I play I will make it my position. There are some great players in the squad. I think it is good competition. Everybody is pushing each other for positions, but I'll take any position," Goosen added.

Coetzee has mentioned Goosen's name as a likely candidate for the No.15 jersey.

"I am comfortable with the players that we have to start at No.15," said Coetzee. 

"I am looking at three guys to cover that position - Jesse Kriel, Johan Goosen and Ruan Combrinck. They might not be specialists, but it is not to say that they cannot do duty there or do it well."

The Springboks begin their 2016 Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina in Nelspruit on Saturday.

By Warren Fortune, in Nelspruit
@FortuneWarren
@rugby365com

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