Former Springbok flyhalf Johan Goosesn says he went through a tough time following his retirement from rugby, but is feeling like a ‘new man’ after he started training with the Cheetahs this week.
Goosen, who played 13 Tests for the Springboks, announced his ‘retirement’ in 2016, while still contracted to French club Racing 92, and returned to South Africa to take up a job as a commercial director on farm in Bloemfontein.
But he is back in the game and will join French Top 14 outfit Montpellier, whose owner Mohed Altrad agreed to buy out his contract with Racing for €1.5million. On Monday the Cheetahs tweeted that Goosen will train with them and possibly even play a few PRO14 matches for the team before he heads off to France.
“That was a bad time in my life, but I feel like a new person now and I am just so happy everything has been sorted out and I’m allowed to play again,” Goosen told OFM.
“Coach Franco Smith is giving me an opportunity to train with the Cheetahs and I’m sure after my long absence from the game, I can learn a few new things from him and his team. If I can teach the younger guys a thing or two in return, I’d be happy to.”
Goosen says he learned a lot during his time with Racing playing alongside All Black great Dan Carter. However, he held his cards firmly against his chest about whether or not he will be running out for the Cheetahs in the next few months.
“I played in Europe, so I have a fairly good idea of how to play in those weather conditions. It’s not always easy, because much like the Cheetahs do now, I love to play a running game and throw the ball around,” Goosen said.
“But when I was there, I learned a lot about game-management from guys like Dan Carter, who I played with for Racing. He made me think about and approach games differently, depending on the weather conditions we played in.
“I want to be able to play at that level again, but there’s still a lot of hard work to be done before that happens. I have to get my fitness back to a high standard.
“For now, I’m enjoying being back in the Cheetahs environment and taking it day by day. They have a new culture now, but I still know most of the people here. It’s also close to the farm where my wife is. It’s just nice to be back.”