Jake White heaps praise on Bulls pivot Goosen: 'I can't believe he hasn't played 50 Tests'

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Johan Goosen (Gallo)
Johan Goosen (Gallo)
  • Bulls coach Jake White was delighted with the performance of Johan Goosen in Saturday's URC win over Cardiff. 
  • The Springbok playmaker was at his best with a statement showing. 
  • Goosen has battled injury, but remains part of the national team plans. 

There were many positives for coach Jake White to take from the Bulls' thumping 45-9 win over Cardiff at Loftus on Saturday, but one of the most pleasing was the performance of flyhalf Johan Goosen.

A player who has endured a nightmarish run of injuries is now back in the Bulls No 10 jumper, and he showed on Saturday why he has been accompanied by so much expectation for such a long time.

Even when injured, Goosen has remained on the radar of Springbok bosses Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber, and this performance was a statement.

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Goosen scored a try and kicked 11 points on the night, but his running of the game was even more impressive as he distributed with precision, putting himself and players around him into gaps, and was largely flawless kicking out of hand.

It was a complete flyhalf showing, and while White was naturally pleased with the efforts of Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie on the night, too, there was a noticeable satisfaction in his voice when addressing Goosen at his post-match press conference.

"In the beginning, we couldn't get rhythm, and we got a lot of slow ball. Every time we got through a couple of phases, it was like we couldn't run onto the ball," said White.

"And then as soon as we did and Goosen could run onto it, and he could open up holes, we either scored or put people away.

"It's going to get better and better."

White says the trick now is to get Goosen playing more regularly, and he is confident that the gains will continue.

"The more he plays and the more they get to play around him, the better. I'm really excited because we're not even halfway through the competition, and we're scoring lots of tries, and we look dangerous every time our backs get the ball," he said.

"Goosen probably hasn't been given as many opportunities as I would have liked at No 10, because he hasn't been able to train there for long periods of time.

"He was injured, he came back, and we used him as a fullback because the team needed him more in that position, especially when we lost our Springboks.

"He needs to get game time at No 10, and if that's the type of game he's going to play after a limited time of running in the No 10 jersey, then we're obviously very excited about where this can go.

"I know it and everyone knows it; he's a talented player, and I can't believe he hasn't played 50 Tests for South Africa. It is what it is, and we have to get him back into the saddle now so he plays as many games as he can."

The official player of the match was Moodie, who scored two tries and linked up superbly with fullback Arendse, who dotted down once.

"Every time they kick the ball and Canan, or Kurt-Lee catches it, you can just sense it, and even the crowd feels that something is going to happen," said White.

"When you combine that with guys like Cornal [Hendricks], Lionel [Mapoe], Harold [Vorster] and Johan Goosen when he's on song like he was tonight, it's fantastic."

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