Bloemfontein – Springbok flyhalf Johan Goosen will get a chance to cement his place in the Cheetahs starting line-up in Super Rugby when the side takes on the Pumas in a pre-season friendly in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Goosen had some game time on the Cheetahs' tour of the Eastern Cape last week, taking part in the second half of the visitors' friendly against the Southern Kings.
Goosen, who has only just returned from injury and receives a starting berth ahead of Elgar Watts, will be hoping to reclaim the number 10 jersey.
“There is some very good competition between Johan Goosen and Elgar Watts,” Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske said.
“The latter has done very well in the warm-up game and is definitely in the running.
“Goosen did well when he came on against the Kings. His goal-kicking was on par and he got good distance with his clearing kicks.”
The Cheetahs left it late against the Kings and struggled in the first half before pulling through in the second.
Drotske said his team lost plenty of possession due to unforced errors as well as handling errors, two elements the team would like to rectify against the Pumas.
“There were just way too many balls going to ground,” he said.
“We need to keep the ball in hand. We are looking for our attacking play to be at least 70 to 80 percent better when we take on the Pumas.”
The Pumas will be out to gain momentum for the coming Vodacom Cup competition and after gaining promotion to the Currie Cup Premier Division last year, they would be out to prove they belong in top-flight rugby.
Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse will give a number of new players a chance with many of his stalwarts injured.
The visitors have to make do without the likes of front-row forward Vincent Koch, wing Marcello Sampson and kicking sensation Justin van Staden while hooker Frankie Herne and loose forward Brian Shabangu are also among the injured.
“We had a very short pre-season due to the fact that we played promotion and relegation matches last year,” Stonehouse said.
“This game will give us a good indication of the depth that is available for the coming Vodacom Cup competition.”
The Pumas will look to seasoned fullback Coenie van Wyk to give the Cheetahs work on the defence. Van Wyk has been released by the Lions after being part of their Super Rugby squad. – Sapa