Gaffie du Toit believes Heyneke Meyer has set a dangerous precedent by selecting Johan Goosen for the Springboks' end-of-year tour. BRENTON CHELIN reports.
Goosen, along with Morné Steyn, has been picked despite failing to hold down a regular place with his French club. Goosen has started just four matches for Racing Métro in the Top 14, and played 80 minutes on just two occasions.
One of those outings was at fullback, the position that Meyer intends to use him during the November Tests. Meyer's assertion that Goosen has played 'most of his rugby' in the No 15 jersey seems unfounded. In fact, of his eight appearances in the Top 14 this season, six have been at flyhalf and one strangely on the wing.
With so little game time at fullback, Meyer might have been better suited to look locally for a potential backup for Willie le Roux.
'I'm not sure whether it's the right message to send out to the local players,' Du Toit told SARugbymag.co.za. 'There's some players earning big money overseas, but aren't playing for their clubs, and they step back into the Springbok fold. It's a bit unfair on those who have performed well in South Africa.'
Meyer has long been a fan of the prodigiously talented Goosen, but has solely considered him as a flyhalf up until now. However, Du Toit, who played both flyhalf and fullback for the Springboks, understands why Meyer has opted for Goosen as an option at 15.
'If you look at what he's capable of at flyhalf, he has the basic skills – the ability to run the ball, get good length on his kicks and read the game well – but he'll need to bring another dimension to his play at fullback.
'With Pat Lambie and Handré Pollard looking good at flyhalf, I think Meyer is just trying to make space for him,' said Du Toit. 'He's a good enough player to be part of the squad.'
Although Goosen has played five Tests for the Boks, this will be his first tour to the northern hemisphere. With the World Cup set to be played in England next year, Du Toit believes that Goosen's growing experience in difficult conditions could be to his advantage.
'We know what a talent he is, and he's shown that before locally. I think it's a good time to do it [play Goosen at fullback], a year out of the World Cup.'
'The conditions aren't going to be easy, and perhaps it's a bit harsh to be testing him out up there, but if he can perform then it'll be a major plus going into next year.'
Du Toit, who spent three successful years at Toulouse later in his career, believes that Goosen can still make a success out of his time in France.
'I've been there before, and in the first year it is always difficult. In Goosen's case, he's still young, and he can adapt and get better.'
Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP Photo