United Rugby Championship: Bulls sweating on Johan Goosen’s fitness ahead of Stormers clash
Springbok fly-half Johan Goosen is an injury concern for the Bulls ahead of their United Rugby Championship (URC) quarter-final against the Stormers in Cape Town next weekend.
The 30-year-old was in the Bulls’ starting line-up in a Currie Cup encounter against Western Province on Saturday but hobbled off the field in his side’s defeat.
Goosen was replaced by Chris Smith midway through the second half, and the Pretoria-based outfit face an anxious wait to see whether the 13-Test Springbok will be fit to take on the Stormers.
After their loss to Western Province, Bulls assistant coach Hugo van As said that he believes Goosen should be cleared to face the Stormers but revealed that the former Cheetahs, Racing 92 and Montpellier playmaker’s preparations for the WP game did not go according to plan.
“Johan picked up a knock in the first half, and we wanted to protect him,” said Van As.
Cleared to play by medical staff
“I am not 100% sure about it. In the warm-up, he felt a tweak in his hamstring [but] he was cleared by the medical staff [to play].
“At half time, he was complaining. When I left the change room, they were still busy examining him. I think he should be fine.”
Bulls boss Jake White opted for continuity by including several of his URC players in his squad for the clash, while WP head coach John Dobson named most of the players who were on duty for the men from the Cape in their previous Currie Cup matches.
White’s plan backfired, however, as the home side outscored the Bulls by four tries to one en route to a comfortable 31-7 victory which will give them a psychological edge ahead of Saturday’s URC play-off against the Bulls at the same venue.
The Bulls’ defeats means they have now lost seven consecutive matches against the men from the Cape – five URC games against the Stormers during the 2021/22 and 2022/23 campaigns, and they also suffered back-to-back defeats against WP in the Currie Cup this year.
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