The Springbok coaches should reward Johan Goosen’s sparkling start to life at the Bulls with a recall to the squad for the remaining Rugby Championship games, readers say after a poll run by SARugbymag.co.za.
After the Springboks’ disappointing defeat by Australia, readers were asked what changes should the coaching staff make to ensure that they bounce back in the second Test against the Wallabies on Saturday.
One of the major issues identified in the wake of the defeat was the lack of a backup goal-kicker. Handre Pollard missed three of seven shots at goal for a 57% strike rate. Damian Willemse replaced Pollard in the final 10 minutes of the match, but missed a conversion – his first goal attempt since November 2020 – that would have had the Boks sneaking away with a draw.
More than anything, it highlighted how desperately the Springboks need an alternative kicker to Pollard.
The Boks turned to veteran Morne Steyn when Pollard had another off day during the third Test against the British & Irish Lions and the 37-year-old memorably kicked the match and series winner.
Elton Jantjies, meanwhile, had a good outing against Argentina in Port Elizabeth, converting six of seven goal-kicks in a comprehensive 32-12 win.
However, fans have snubbed both the experienced flyhalves in the current Bok squad in favour of giving Goosen a shot at Test-rugby redemption. The 29-year-old played his last match for the Springboks against Wales in Cardiff in 2016.
Since joining the Bulls from Montpellier, Goosen has helped Jake White’s team retain their Currie Cup title. Although he missed the final against the Sharks, he kicked 37 of 43 attempts during the 2021 domestic championship for an 86% strike rate.
Goosen was the outstanding favourite in the poll, getting 42% of the fans’ votes.
If a recall is not possible at this time, fans would want to see either Steyn or Jantjies called on to the bench, to provide the Boks with a backup kicker. Steyn earned 27% of the votes, while Jantjies was also a favourite, with 17% of the vote.
On Wednesday at 11am SA time, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber will name the team to face Australia in the second Test at Suncorp Stadium.
Photo: EPA/DAVE HUNT