Vodacom Bulls boss Jake White has admitted he doesn’t like the G4 synthetic pitches in Europe and hinted that it may have played a role in Johan Goosen’s knee injury in Cardiff on Saturday.
Goosen went down and clutched his left knee just 15 minutes into the Bulls’ clash with Cardiff and was subsequently helped off the field to be replaced by Chris Smith.
The playmaker will undergo scans to determine the extent of the injury and the Bulls now face an anxious wait on the results.
While White is still holding out hope that Goosen’s injury is not severe, he says the player himself fears the worst.
“I asked him if it was sore, and I was hoping he would say yes, because when you get a knee injury, the more sore it is, the more chance there is of the ligaments and stuff remaining intact and the rehab being quicker. If it’s off [ligaments off the bone], then you don’t feel anything,” White explained.
“At this point in time, he thinks it’s not good news – and I think he’s had a couple of ACL injuries before, so I’m sure he would know. But one never knows.
“Maybe with the adrenaline that’s there now and the disappointment, and where his head space is, maybe he’s fearing the worst. But hopefully when he gets scanned, it won’t be as bad we thought it would be.”
Despite White’s optimism over Goosen’s injury, he expressed his unhappiness with the 4G surface, which is a mixture of grass and a synthetic pitch.
“It’s a different kind of pitch, and to be honest – it’s probably not the right thing to say – but I’m not a fan of 4G pitches. Having coached in the north and seen these 4G pitches, I’m not a fan. I understand why they do it, with the weather and water tables, freezing and all that in the north.
“But I wonder if Goosen’s injury could’ve been prevented if we had played on grass, because it’s such a different [surface]. Hardly anything happened there – he just turned his leg to change direction, and I think the fact that his foot got stuck in the turf and doesn’t give [way] as much as grass turf is obviously the reason why you can get a lot of knee and ankle injuries.
“It’s very different, and it’s not a negative. It’s circumstance, it’s weather. I spoke to Dai Young [Cardiff’s coach] about it before the game, and there is obviously a lot more to it – the community game, and they need to keep numbers … I’m talking about generally, around the world,” he said.
“We’re very fortunate with our temperatures and our fields that we don’t really need synthetic pitches. Our outdoors [environment] and our rugby season are generally mild enough for us to have grass.
“It’s an adaptation. I’m not a believer in it. I actually prefer grass and I prefer playing on pitches that we are used to.”
The Bulls will play on another G4 surface this coming weekend when they take on Edinburgh in their last game on this mini tour.
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