Johan Goosen may not be ready yet, but the Bulls are drooling at the thought of using their new acquisitions Wandisile Simelane and Sbu Nkosi against the Lions in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship match.
After suffering a significant knee injury against Cardiff early in the previous season, flyhalf Goosen has been recovering for the last several months.
During a recent URC sponsorship event in Doha, he informed the Pretoria News that he was in excellent health, participating in full training, and hoping to play himself back into the Springbok lineup for the end-of-year trip to Europe.
The 30-year-old will return to the field shortly, according to Bulls attack coach Chris Rossouw, who also expressed confidence that Simelane and Nkosi will play the Lions at Ellis Park (4.05pm kickoff).
He presumably recently passed a year with Johan, I think (out injured). This week, he is at the gym. He took two weeks off because he had work commitments with the URC and had to go to Doha (and London), so he missed one week of training with us, according to Rossouw.
“So, he is entering the mix, and I anticipate that his selection will happen shortly.
“Wandisile and the other men arrived here six weeks ago, and since then, we’ve had a terrific time hanging together. I believe he blended in well since he is a very dynamic runner with the ball and is aware of his season’s objectives. However, he will fit in well with the Bulls, and we are excited to see what he can achieve for us.
“The team has not yet been chosen. But everyone was aware that a rehabilitation programme was available for Nkosi when he arrived here six weeks ago, so that he could reach his full potential.
“Let’s see how the team looks. I believe he is in route. He had a complete game the last time we played each other, which was last week. He handled the situation well, thus I anticipate that he will be considered for selection.
We are all aware that it takes a few games for an injured player to return to form. However, we are pleased with his current situation.
However, the Bulls have two excellent flyhalves in Chris Smith and the seasoned Morné Steyn to make the offensive decisions, and after the Bulls played some amazing rugby to advance to the final the previous year, they want to do so again against the Lions.
“Since it’s the first game of the year, we should all expect to be a little out of breath. But when it’s warm, it’s great… The weather is ideal for running and playing our game, according to Rossouw.
“However, I believe that for the first game, we will surely play (a style of) dominating the game and assess our fitness. The boys are eager to go back at full speed after a fantastic off-season.
We will assess our situation on Saturday, but I am optimistic that we are in a strong position to perform.