United Rugby Championship

Bulls to go conservative route with Goosen after receiving bad injury news

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Johan Goosen. (Photo by Chris Fairweather/Gallo Images)
Johan Goosen. (Photo by Chris Fairweather/Gallo Images)
  • The Bulls won't be rushing Johan Goosen back into action after the influential flyhalf's scans confirmed his ACL injury requires surgery.
  • Prompted by the RG Snyman example, Bulls mentor Jake White is more than willing to take the conservative route given his star signing's importance.
  • But the depth situation isn't particularly dicey when it's considered Morne Steyn is back in the camp.

Prompted by RG Snyman's devastating setback earlier this week as well as the bad luck that has essentially ended Gio Aplon's stellar career, the Bulls will grant Johan Goosen all the time he needs to recover from the knee injury sustained in last weekend's United Rugby Championship victory over Cardiff.

The influential flyhalf was helped off the field early on after turning awkwardly with ball-in-hand and was immediately sent home for a specialist diagnosis.

On Friday, Jake White, the franchise's director of rugby, confirmed Goosen's torn ACL will require surgery.

READ | Bulls' heart 'bleeds' for unlucky Goosen, but depth means they're hardly sulking

"He will have to undergo an operation," he said, ahead of the Bulls' meeting with Edinburgh on Saturday.

"That, unfortunately, carries inherently with it a 7-9 month rehabilitation period. The problem with an injury of this nature is that we've seen how players return and then re-injure the exact same ligament almost immediately.

"It doesn't really matter if he gets the operation today or only next week. There's no way we're going to rush this process. For now, we're just hoping the surgery goes well and take things from there."

White though insisted that Goosen's age - he turns 30 next year - nor his history of knee problems isn't making him extra jittery about the long-term value he might extract from one of his star signings.

"Look, there's no exact science to this," he said.

"We saw it this week with a guy like RG, who's still young at 26, and re-done his ACL too. I don't think you base rehab on the age of a player. 

"Also, there's no real consensus on how long you should keep a player on a leash once he's fit and ready again. Does it help to let a guy do a month's extra rehab as a way to guarantee he never ruptures the joint again? My medical staff say no. 

"I want to err on the side of conservatism with Johan, who's a hugely important player for us. I'm planning for him being out for the whole duration of the normal rehab."

That situation is undoubtedly soothed by the presence of Morne Steyn, who's joined the squad after Springbok duty, and the fine form shown by Chris Smith, who replaced Goosen last week.

"Not many teams can boast replacing Johan with someone like Morne. It's a privileged position to be in," said White.

"Chris has been great, so we're confident we're sorted."

White mentioned that he'll dip into the junior ranks if required and that the franchise is in the process of acquiring another flyhalf cum fullback, who'll be signed by the end of the month.

Kick-off on Saturday is at 18:15.

Teams:

Edinburgh

15 Henry Immelman, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 James Lang, 11 Damien Hoyland, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Charlie Schiel, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain), 4 Marshall Sykes, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Pierre Schoeman

Substitutes: 16 Dave Cherry, 17 Boan Venter, 18 WP Nel, 19 Pierce Phillips, 20 Mesu Kunavula, 21 Connor Boyle, 22 Ben Vellacott, 23 James Johnstone

Bulls

15 David Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Cornal Hendricks, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Muller Uys, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Janko Swanepoel, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Lizo Gqoboka

Substitutes: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Robert Hunt, 19 Walt Steenkamp, 20 Elrigh Louw, 21 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 21 Morne Steyn, 23 Lionel Mapoe

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