Future star: Johan Goosen

Johan Goosen’s all-round ability has made him a match-winner for school, province and country.

The 2010 season has been a big one for the 18-year-old flyhalf. He has been a stand-out performer in a strong Grey College 1st XV, which earned him provincial selection for Free State at his second Craven Week. After finishing as the top point-scorer at the festival, with 47, and a Man of the Match display against Western Province in their 42-21 triumph in the unofficial final, he was selected for the SA Schools and SA U18 High Performance starting XVs.

Again he played a key role, kicking 15 points in the SA U18’s 23-17 victory against England U18. He also kicked 15 points in their 25-5 win over France U18, and scored 12 in their 27-16 win over Namibia U18.

‘This season has been a great one for me. I was proud to make the SA Schools side for the first time,’ says Goosen. ‘My best performance was against England because I kicked some difficult penalties to keep us ahead. After the win, I felt that all the hours I’d spent practising my goal kicking before and after training had been worth it. Free State U21 coach Pine Pienaar has spoken to me about playing for the U19 or U21 sides later this year. I’m excited about that.’

Goosen was born in Burgersdorp in the Eastern Cape, where he attended Burgersdorp Primary before becoming a boarder at Grey College in Bloemfontein. He represented Border at U12 and U13 level in 2003 and 2004, and made the Free State U16 side in 2007. In 2008, he played his first season of 1st XV rugby at Grey College and was selected for the Free State Craven Week and SA U18 High Performance sides.

Grey College 1st XV coach Ingo Machts says Goosen, who is 85kg and 1.85m, has all the attributes of a quality flyhalf.

‘Most importantly, he has an accurate boot for goal and tactical kicking, which can help a team build momentum. He also has great attacking and distribution skills and is solid in defence,’ says Machts.

‘But what makes him a match-winner is his BMT. He keeps a cool head in those pressure situations. He can be a major success at senior level but he needs to be patient and come through the ranks at the right time.’

Goosen was approached by the Bulls in 2008 but has decided to dedicate his short-term future to Free State, signing a two-year junior contract.

‘I’m going to take my rugby career seriously next year. I want to stay at Free State because they have good junior teams and have opportunities for youngsters to come through the ranks. After my two years with them, I’ll review my options and see what happens.’

By Gareth Duncan

– This article first appeared in the September issue of SA Rugby magazine