Goosen back into Bulls' selection frame
Bulls backs coach Chris Rossouw said facing Munster in Limerick is the ideal opportunity for the team to bounce back from last week’s disappointing loss.
However, the most significant news to come out of Tuesday’s media briefing was around the team selection.
Johan Goosen is available again this week, after missing last week’s outing because of the dangers posed by the 4G pitch at Scotstoun in Glasgow.
Thomond Park’s more forgiving grass surface will be less of a threat to the ongoing concerns over the Springbok utility back, following the knee ligament surgery that ruled him out for the best part of a year.
“[Director of Rugby] Jake [White] will also look to make some rotational switches,” Rossouw said, adding: “Whatever changes will be made will not be a reflection on last week’s outing.
“We are busy with a building process and we are sticking with that.”
He added that while Munster has not had the most prolific start – having lost three of their first four matches – they have some amazing talent in their squad.
Their defeats were all on the road – against Cardiff, Dragons and Connacht – with their only home game a 21-5 win over Zebre.
“They also had some of their top players with the Emerging Ireland team in South Africa,” he said of the side that completed a three-match sweep of the Challenge Series in Bloemfontein the past fortnight.
“They will be bolstered with some of those players.”
However, the absence of Springbok Damian de Allende – one of 10 players who departed when former Bok assistant coach Johann van Graan moved to Bath – is the most significant change on the playing field.
“However, here in Limerick, they have a very good record, so it will be a big challenge for us,” the Bulls assistant coach, Rossouw, said.
“It is a great game for us to bounce back in.”
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Rossouw spoke about the ‘disappointment’ of losing the opening match on their European tour – going down 21-35 to a charged-up Glasgow Warriors.
That ended a three-match winning start, which saw them share top spot with Irish giants Leinster.
Having had a thorough review of what went wrong with their mauls and at the breakdown, they ‘cleared up’ some issues with the match officials.
“We noted that we have to ‘step up’ in those departments,” Rossouw said, adding: “We can’t have so man opportunities and not convert.”
While the Bulls have avoided blaming match officials for calls going against them, he said the key for the team is, in the heat of the moment, to be able to make adjustments to the referee.
“You try to incorporate that into your training, so the players can find a different way,” the assistant coach said.
“It is something we spoke about, to vary it [tactics].”
He admitted they were well below their accepted standards in all aspects of their game in Glasgow.
“We have to be a bit smarter in unlocking the opportunities we created.
“The ability to adapt your game and under pressure have different options is something we discussed.”