Start Goosen at flyhalf - Drotske
If the Springboks want to win the Rugby Championship test match against Australia, then they have to go with Johan Goosen at flyhalf.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske may have been against Goosen touring with the Boks when he was selected a few weeks ago, but now is adamant that the young flyhalf is the key to a victory at Loftus Versfeld this weekend.
As pressure mounts on Bok coach Heyneke Meyer to drop incumbent Morne Steyn after several off-key performances, Drotske has thrown his weight behind Goosen and believes the Boks need to give him a go straight away.
Calling him “the future of SA Rugby” Drotske believes Goosen will show enough tenacity to overcome any nerves of playing at Loftus.
“In the situation we are now in, I would definitely start him,” Drotske says. “He is an amazing player, and he has a very strong mind. I’ve seen that when we were overseas in Super Rugby. He wants to play, he doesn’t feel pressure and he is an awesome goalkicker. He is a good attacker, and he has a perfect temperament. I would definitely start him - he is the future of South African rugby.”
The Cheetahs coach was brave enough to play his prodigious talent last year in the Currie Cup at the age of 19, and is incredible proud of the youngster, although he does exercise a word of caution on the amount of gametime Goosen has had since returning from injury. In Drotske’s mind, Goosen should have been released for Currie Cup duty this past weekend.
“I’m very proud of Johan, he has a huge talent and is definitely our flyhalf for the future. I just think it’s tough on him -- he played 40 minutes against Griquas and didn’t play well. They took him away then and he had to play in New Zealand. I thought it was an ideal situation for him to get game time this weekend so I don’t understand why he and Pat Lambie didn’t play,” Drotske added.
“It’s tough for a youngster at flyhalf, which is a crucial position. You have to get game time and get confidence if you want to play against Australia and New Zealand, that’s asking a lot of a 20-year-old. I’m not saying he won’t handle it, he has got the mindset to make a success of it, but he would handle it much better if he played 80 minutes this weekend.”
Drotske said he would also make a change at fullback, where he believes Pat Lambie should start.
“It is difficult, every coach has his plans and I know what Heyneke is going through at the moment. I would have a guy like Gio Aplon or Pat Lambie there. If you have a player like that, along with Johan Goosen at 10, it would solve a lot of our problems on attack at the moment.”
With the Cheetahs losing Coenie Oosthuizen to the Boks as well, Drotske admitted he is concerned that Oosthuizen needs to be managed well after his neck injury, but it is unlikely the Free Stater will be more than on the bench this coming weekend.
“Coenie is the same as Johan Goosen. He was out for four months with a neck injury and last week he was supposed to take no contact at training, and he almost wrote off three of his teammates. He is also one of those guys who has a very strong head and all the talent in the world. I think you just need to manage him well with his neck -- he has had one or two injuries but he is a player for the future.”
One mistake the Boks have made, according to Drotske, is not to pick Heinrich Brussow, and Drotske believes there is a fallacy that Drotske is a one-dimensional fetcher.
“I would always pick Heinrich. There is this fallacy that Heinrich can’t be a ball carrier and he can’t defend, and that he’s only a ball-stealer. But I think that isn’t true, Heinrich is an unbelievable ball carrier and nobody ever gets momentum on him on defence.
"In fact, he is the guy who gives us the most offensive hits week on week -- because he drives players back in the tackle. I think the fallacy is there because he is smaller, and because of that people think he can’t be a ball carrier and can’t defend -- but I beg to differ on that one. If you’re talking about a player who can only be a fetcher, and who suffers on defence, then I agree, but that isn’t the case with Heinrich -- he can do all three well.”
The Boks will start their preparations later on Monday, but all eyes are on Goosen and Steyn, as well as the third flyhalf Elton Jantjies to see which two crack the nod for the team on Saturday.