Sun 18 Sep 2022 | 10:27

White opens up about Goosen's World Cup goal

White opens up about Goosen's World Cup goal
Sun 18 Sep 2022 | 10:27
White opens up about Goosen's World Cup goal
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Johan Goosen is not yet ready to answer a Springbok SOS.

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Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White said the mercurial utility back, Goosen, is close to a return from a lengthy injury lay-off – following surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament in October last year.

However, he won’t be ready to fill the gap if the No.10 position becomes available in the Bok side this week – even though he was part of the wider Bok squad earlier this year.

The possibility of a Bok recall was raised in the wake of Damien Willemse’s head knock in the 36-20 win over Argentina in a Rugby Championship encounter in Buenos Aires at the weekend.

However, White, a 2007 World Cup-winning Bok coach, had already poured cold water on the suggestion of a prompt Bok call-up for Goosen – despite his “phenomenal” talents.

“My job for him is to get him back into the national set-up,” he said of the 30-year-old’s desire to add to his 13 Test caps with the Springboks.

While he will return ‘soon’, the coach said he won’t “rush” the return to play process and is working on getting the player ready for South Africa’s year-end tour – when they will face Ireland, Italy, France and England.

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“I have to ensure he is ready to Test rugby in November,” White said.

“I have to ensure he is comfortable and mentally ready to get on the field and play.

“He wants to play Test rugby and my job is to get him there.”

Goosen is set to be eased back into the gamed through the Bulls.

(Continue below …)

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“I’ve coached lots of players and he’s phenomenal,” the Bulls boss said.

“He also makes our defence function well, because he runs in the opposition backline and he keeps us guessing,” White said.

“He’ll get a run as soon as he’s ready to go.

“He has a desire to play Test rugby and wants to go to the World Cup, so we don’t want to rush him.

“We just need to find the right time and combinations for him to be on the field, so it’s a work in progress and everyone needs to be happy.

“We just need to get him on the field while the other guys are still rusty, so it’s a balancing act to get him in the team.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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