Louw like a kid on his birthday, Goosen returns at fullback for Bulls
'We are easing Johan back into play, playing him at fullback gives him the chance to get into the game without having to control everything from Minute One. We’re being conservative.'
Johan Goosen, pictured in training this week, will return at fullback for the Bulls. Picture Lee Warren/Gallo Images
New Springbok Elrigh Louw was apparently as excited as a young kid on his birthday to be back playing with the Bulls, who also welcome back Johan Goosen, making a long-awaited return from injury, for their United Rugby Championship match against Edinburgh at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Goosen’s return to play from a long-term injury will be watched keenly by a Springbok management who have something of a flyhalf crisis, but the 30-year-old will be playing fullback on Saturday, while Louw slots in at eighthman for the Bulls.
“Elrigh got hold of me two minutes after he had been told he was being released from the Springbok camp and said he really needs to play this weekend for the Bulls,” coach Jake White said at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
“He’s young and just loves to play and he’s really looking forward to playing for the Bulls again, after a great hit-out last weekend against Argentina. I’m looking forward to that loose forward combination with him, Marcell Coetzee and Ruan Vermaak.
“We are easing Johan back into play, playing him at fullback gives him the chance to get into the game without having to control everything from Minute One. We’re being conservative.
“We’ll find the right time for him to slot back at flyhalf, but he won’t last 80 minutes. We want to keep him out of the firing line a bit, but I’m sure he’ll try push his way into 10 at times,” White explained.
Raise the bar
Both teams are coming off good starts to the URC season, with the Bulls having beaten the Lions 31-15 at Ellis Park and Edinburgh thumping the Dragons 44-6. But White believes his team are going to have to raise the bar against Edinburgh, who he feels are more equipped to fully punish the moments of looseness they showed last weekend. The Lions made some rookie mistakes on attack.
“We can’t be inaccurate against Edinburgh, give them the same opportunities we gave the Lions, because they will be better organised and more difficult to keep out. They are a good side.
“We will have to play well, they’re one of the sides we didn’t beat last season, so we know we have got to be up for it. We weren’t great last week, but we got the job done.
“But Edinburgh have a lot of experience, they are well-coached and they move the ball around, they try to go around you. They have some internationals who have played World Cups, Six Nations every year, so that gives them confidence.
“They are a group that has played together a lot and we cannot underestimate them. They also have four South African props, who I’m sure will be important,” White said.
Bulls team:Johan Goosen, Cornal Hendricks, Lionel Mapoe, David Kriel, Stravino Jacobs, Chris Smith, Zak Burger; Elrigh Louw, Ruan Vermaak, Marcell Coetzee (CAPT), Ruan Nortje, Walt Steenkamp, Mornay Smith, Johan Grobbelaar, Gerhard Steenekamp. IMPACT -Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Simphiwe Matanzima, Francois Klopper, Janko Swanepoel, Marco van Staden; Embrose Papier, Morne Steyn, Stedman Gans.