— Cape Town Bulls head coach Jake White has substituted Chris Smith for Johan Goosen as flyhalf for Saturday’s United Rugby Championship game against the Glasgow Warriors (8.35pm SA time kickoff).
Goosen wore the No. 10 jersey in last week’s 28-14 triumph against Connacht at Loftus Versfeld after commencing his recovery from a long-term knee injury at fullback against Edinburgh the week prior.
However, the former Cheetahs star, who is in position for a Springbok comeback for the end-of-year tour to Europe, was omitted from White’s match-23 released on Friday, with Smith given the playmaker duties.
“I won’t put him (Goosen) at risk on a 4G field.”
In Tier One nations, no Test matches are played on a 4G surface for a reason, White stated at the team announcement news conference.
“He was injured on that surface, and from a player welfare standpoint – and considering he’s just returned from a horrific injury and 11-month absence – I don’t think we should risk playing him on a 4G pitch.
Despite this, I have confidence in Chris and Morné (Steyn). Since they have been with us since my arrival, they are accustomed with our playing style and have performed magnificently when called upon.
“It could be (a mental issue for Goosen on a 4G pitch), but I won’t ask him if he thinks it’s OK; I’ll make my own determination.
“Knowing that 4G is a sort of playing surface… This type of surface is where he was initially injured. In addition, a huge number of men had sustained similar injuries on that field in the past, as shown by historical data and statistical analysis.
“Since he recently returned after an 11-month absence, it’s not something I’m willing to do; I’m not willing to take that risk.”
In the absence of speedy Boks Canan Moodie and Sbu Nkosi due to injury, veteran Cornal Hendricks wears No. 14, while Stedman Gans begins on the left wing and Lionel Mapoe assumes the outside center position.
Jan-Hendrik Wessels has taken over for the injured Johan Grobbelaar as the No. 2 hooker.
Bismarck du Plessis, Morné Steyn, and Wandisile Simelane all new to the bench.
“I am quite impressed with the manner in which the men have trained under this week’s inclement weather. As a team, we are in a good position, and we have a fantastic opportunity to confront Glasgow and achieve what is necessary. White declared in a statement that the campaign would maintain its momentum.
This new campaign is still in its infancy, but if we execute the basics correctly week after week, everything else will fall into place.
15 Kurt-Lee Arendse fourteen Hendricks, Hendricks, Cornal 13 Lionel Mapoe 12 David Kriel eleven Steward Gans 10-year-old Christopher Smith 9 Zak Burger Eight Elrigh Louw 7 Marco van Staden 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain) 5 Ruan Nortje 4 Walt Steenkamp 3 Francois Klopper 2 Jan-Hendrik Wessels 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Bench: 16 Bismarck du Plessis 17 Simphiwe Matanzima 18 Mornay Smith 19 Janko Swanepoel 20 Reinhardt Ludwig 21 Embrose Papier 22 Morné Steyn 23 Wandisile Simelane.