Springbok utility back Johan Goosen has admitted that his premature retirement from rugby was a bad decision.
Goosen was playing in his second season for Racing 92 in France when he made the shock announcement in 2016 that he decided to call time on his playing career in order to focus on his farming business interests back home in South Africa.
Sixteen months later, he came out of retirement and signed on to play for the Cheetahs, but he was just three games into his stint in Bloemfontein when another French club, Montpellier, came knocking to secure his services.
When Goosen eventually signed for Montpellier, the move caused an uproar, particularly in French rugby circles, because he was still contracted to Racing despite the break in play due to his retirement.
‘I stopped for sixteen months, and I don’t think that the break was a good decision in my career,’ he told French news outlet L’Equipe.
‘I’m working really hard to get back to where I was. Now that’s in the past. I made decisions, bad decisions. It happens to everyone. I can’t change it. I have to move forward, work really hard and focus on rugby to get back on top with my club. And I will get there.’
In the end, Montpellier had to pay Racing €1.5 million to buy Goosen out of his contract, before officially signing him on a two-year deal. That deal ends on 30 June 2021 and according to Goosen it’s unlikely that the club will offer him an extension as they’ve yet to approach him with an offer.
When asked about the playing options currently available to him, Goosen refused to rule out a possible return to South African rugby.
‘I’ll be honest, Montpellier has not been in contact with me [regarding a contract extension]. I have to think about my future, my children and my wife, but nothing is certain yet for a return to South Africa or elsewhere. Right now I’m enjoying my life here and, if I can stay, I will stay. I read about my possible transfer to the [Vodacom] Bulls or the Cheetahs in the media, but absolutely nothing is finalised. I have no further answers for you, just that I’m happy here and still have seven to eight months of contract.’
Goosen was willing to concede, though, that he believes he still has unfinished business in the Springbok jersey.
‘All South Africans want to play for the Springboks. It’s still a dream, a goal for me. That’s why I have to perform with Montpellier. No one knows what lies ahead. Every morning I wake up to work hard, to motivate myself to progress and so why not?’
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