Goosen back at flyhalf for Cheetahs’ playoff in Llanelli
Johan Goosen is back in the Cheetahs’ starting team for their Pro14 playoff clash against the Scarlets in Llanelli on Saturday.
Goosen‚ who has been granted temporary permission to play for the Cheetahs while regaining his match fitness‚ started off the bench last weekend when the team secured their place in the playoffs with a win over the Southern Kings.
Two weeks earlier he broke his two-year hiatus when he featured in the team that lost at home to Munster.
The Cheetahs will be hoping Goosen can provide the spark that helped make him the player of the year in France while playing for Racing 92.
He left Racing amid much acrimony and went into self-imposed retirement in 2016 but Montpellier have since lured him out of exile and the flyhalf will join them at the end of June.
For the moment however‚ he will be central to the Cheetahs’ cause at a venue where the Scarlets have won 20 straight games in the Pro14. They haven’t lost at home in that competition since 2016.
The Cheetahs are hoping however Goosen can provide the X-factor that will earn them a semifinal spot against Glasgow Warriors next weekend.
Goosen’s inclusion means Niel Marais moves back to inside centre‚ which tellingly gives the team side-by-side tactical kicking options.
The Cheetahs will have to be tactically smart against the team they beat in Bloemfontein in December. Downing them on home soil will require a different approach as this will be a clash in which both teams try and suffocate the other out of the contest.
They have assembled a side that features four Springboks in their starting lineup in Goosen‚ captain and centre Francois Venter‚ No.8 Uzair Cassiem and flank Oupa Mohoje.
Clayton Blommetjies‚ a star performer against the Cheetahs last week‚ has been declared fit.
However‚ Dennis Visser (knee)‚ Elandré Huggett (knee)‚ Ruan van Rensburg (hand)‚ Luan de Bruin (chest muscle)‚ Shaun Venter (knee)‚ Nico Lee (ankle) and Luther Obi (knee) weren’t considered for selection.
Clayton Blommetjies; William Small-Smith‚ Francois Venter (captain)‚ Niel Marais‚ Sibahle Maxwane; Johan Goosen‚ Tian Meyer; Uzair Cassiem‚ Oupa Mohoje‚ Paul Schoeman; Rynier Bernardo‚ Carl Wegner; Johan Coetzee‚ Torsten van Jaarsveld‚ Ox Nché.
Jacques du Toit‚ Charl Marais‚ Tom Botha‚ Reniel Hugo‚ Henco Venter; Zee Makhabela‚ Clinton Swart‚ Lloyd Greeff.