Johan Goosen’s performance in the Bulls’ semi-final victory over Western Province reminded head coach Jake White of a lesson he learned while coaching with former Wallabies playmaker Stephen Larkham at the Brumbies.
Goosen starred as the Bulls eased to a 48-31 win over Province in the first Currie Cup semi-final at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night, a scoreline which somewhat flattered the visitors given the home side’s dominance throughout the contest.
The 29-year-old playmaker scored a try, kicked six conversions and two penalties for a haul of 23 points. He also controlled the game excellently, as his pinpoint-kicking game kept the Bulls moving forward, while he managed to put his outside backs into space with a number of well-balanced passes.
Post-match, White said that Goosen’s performance reminded him of the value of having an all-round flyhalf, something he saw while coaching at the Brumbies back in 2012.
“When I coached the Brumbies, I coached with Stephen Larkham,” White explained.
“Larkham used to run the attack in the B side against us, and he was a retired player. I saw the value of having a No 10 that not only sees the space, but has the ability to put the ball in that space as well, especially when he is so close to the line.”
It is testimony of Goosen’s ability that he has managed to slot in so quickly at the Bulls, given his move from Montpellier was confirmed in April and he only made his debut against the South Africa A team in mid-July.
“I have been fortunate enough to coach a lot of good players and see so many good players come through teams that I have coached. He [Goosen] is no different,” White said. “You saw tonight what he is like when he is on song.
“Sure, our forwards were good, but we didn’t get a lineout or a scrum for a long time in the game and when we did, obviously the forwards got us good front-foot ball. Before that, his game control, his understanding of what to do and how he executed those things was phenomenal.”
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