Goosen showed promise at 15

Johan Goosen performed well in his first match at fullback for the Springboks, writes SIMON BORCHARDT.

All five of Goosen's previous Test appearances, including two starts, had come at flyhalf, and on Saturday he was given the chance to show that he can provide backup for Willie le Roux at 15.

Goosen did that during the 58 minutes he spent on the field in Padova, running straight with ball in hand (something Le Roux rarely does) and showing good positional awareness on defence.

Italy tested the Bok fullback with an up-and-under in the opening minute of the match, with the Italian player who got to the ball first knocking on, but surprisingly didn't do it again.

The 22-year-old had few attacking opportunities in the first half. He made a couple of metres from two ball-carries when the Boks were pushing for a try, but had to wait until the 31st minute to get the ball in space. The Boks won a lineout and went wide to Goosen, who received possession just inside his half. He handed off the first defender, threw a dummy to send another the wrong way, and took play inside Italy's 22 before being tackled.

Goosen began the second half by kicking a good up-and-under. Soon after, he received the ball inside his 22 and ran up to Italy's 10m line before passing. He handled the ball three more times as the Bok attack continued, before his chip kick into the 22 was well dealt with by the Italians.

Italy fullback Andrea Masi had fewer opportunities to impress than Goosen despite playing the full 80 minutes.

After a slick Italian attack in the fifth minute, Masi opted to kick into the corner instead of keeping the ball in hand. The ball went into touch, and the Boks cleared from the resultant lineout.

But the No 15 did well to collect the loose ball when his scrumhalf Edoardo Gori's kick was charged down, and was unlucky to be penalised late in the first half when he won the ball in the air

Masi will be pleased with his performance, but it wasn't quite as good as Goosen's.

Photos: Dino Panato/Barry Aldworth/Getty Images/BackpagePix

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Simon Borchardt