Nienaber on Goosen: 'Does he want to be part of the Boks?'
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber is spoilt for choice when it comes to flyhalf options.
At the start of the year, both Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies were sidelined due to injuries.
Pollard has returned to action and is playing at French side Montpellier, while his backup Jantjies underwent surgery in Cape Town and has been included in the Springboks’ first alignment camp.
Speaking to the media on Sunday in Durban, Nienaber admitted he was worried about the lack of flyhalf options for the national side.
However, after a couple of months, the Bok boss is very happy with the current crop of flyhalves at his disposal.
“It was quite a shock when I thought about it a month or so ago, that if we would have to play a Test match, both our regular players were injured,” Nienaber told reporters.
“Handre has returned to action and is playing in the European Champions Cup for Montpellier.
“Elton had his surgery in South Africa. He will be at the alignment camp because he is doing rehabilitation, along with Malcolm Marx, who is also carrying an injury.
“Elton is doing very well. He will see the specialist in the next week or two and if he gets the all-clear he will head back to Japan.
“We hope he will get some game time in Japan.”
Last year the Boks brought in the experienced Morne Steyn during the British and Irish Lions, with the likes of Francois Steyn and Damian Willemse also in the squad.
Morne Steyn was in impeccable form scoring the winning penalty which handed the Springboks a series win over the Lions.
However, given his age, the coach stated he is keen to see what the likes of Johan Goosen can offer.
The 29-year-old underwent surgery in October last year after he damaged his anterior cruciate knee ligament in a win over Cardiff in the United Rugby Championship.
Goosen, who has not played a match since October, is also part of the alignment camps.
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“Last year our thoughts were to get an experienced head in like Morne Steyn, while we also have Francois Steyn and even Damian Willemse who can slot in at flyhalf.
“I think Cheslin Kolbe has also produced some excellent performances for Toulouse last year before heading to Toulon, so there are a few third choice options.
“However, this year it is important to look at a guy like Johan Goosen.
“I think it will be nice to know where he’s at. Does he want to be part of the Springboks ?.”
The coach added: “Then you also have to look at the current crop of the URC flyhalves.
“On Saturday [ during the rescheduled fixtures between Stormers v Bulls and Sharks v Lions] there were some excellent performances from the flyhalves.
“So, I have to be quite honest in January I was worried about flyhalf depth. But we look at everyone, we assess every guy in positions we think we might be thin.”