CAPE TOWN - An original ‘wunderkind’ is coming home to South African rugby – Johan Goosen has signed for the Bulls, and will arrive at Loftus Versfeld on July 1.
The former Cheetahs star has been in France, firstly with Racing Metro 92 and latterly Montpellier since 2014, except for a brief period when he retired under controversial circumstances, ostensibly to go farming in Bloemfontein in late 2016.
But he was back on the pitch a few years later, first turning out for the Cheetahs in 2018 before returning to France at Montpellier. He admitted in an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe that he had made “bad decisions” with regards to his departure from Racing Metro and going to work in Bloemfontein.
He had been chosen as the French Top 14 player of the year at Racing in 2015/16 as an outside centre, which showcased his versatility.
But the retirement saga led to Montpellier having to buy Goosen out of his Racing contract, and he was signed until 30 June 2021. He indicated to L’Equipe that he was considering coming home as Montpellier had not discussed a contract extension with him.
Jake White swooped as only he can as the new Bulls coach, and now he has his man.
“I'm excited to be returning to my homeland and representing the Bulls, who are rising in strength day by day. Rugby in Pretoria has an exciting future, and I’m grateful to be part of it,” Goosen said in a statement on Friday.
🚨 NEW SIGNING 🚨— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) April 16, 2021
Our worst kept secret is official: Johan Goosen is coming to Loftus! 🔥 Welcome to the #BullsFamily Goose, we’re sure you’ll fit right in 👊 Here’s a little reminder of just how insanely talented he is 💪 https://t.co/9gXqu1dD2n pic.twitter.com/ixYrWwbgW2
White has previous said that the 28-year-old could operate at flyhalf, inside centre and fullback for the Bulls.
Having made his Test debut in 2012 as a 20-year-old and with 13 Test caps to his name, Goosen will also be keen to get into the Springbok mix once more – although it might not be in time for the British and Irish Lions series, as he is only arriving in July, after the Rainbow Cup.
“We are definitely excited for Johan’s eminent arrival in Pretoria and look forward to his contribution. He has consistently performed at the highest level since his early days, and his experience will bode well for our younger backs, while providing us with attacking opportunities when he takes the field,” said White.