Meyer: Goosen can be a world-class 15

Date published: November 19 2014

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Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has backed Racing Metro utility back Johan Goosen to make an impact from full-back against Italy.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has backed Racing Metro utility back Johan Goosen to make an impact from full-back against Italy on Saturday.

With the overseas-based players not available to face Wales next week, time is running out for Meyer to test players he plans on taking to the World Cup.

As such the Bok mentor has chosen to experiment somewhat against the Azzurri as Goosen will start in the 15 jersey for the first time amongst four changes to the side that beat England.

“I believe Johan can become a world-class fullback, and that he will still offer a good option at 10,”said Meyer.

“Pat Lambie can cover 15 but I thought it would unsettle him to move him at this stage. This will be a big test for Johan. The Italy fly-half kicks tactically well, and so his positional play will need to be good.

“Johan is a great attacking player and a very brave defender. He kicks the ball a mile, but his positional play will be under scrutiny this week. I’ve told him not to try too hard in the attempt to make this chance count. He will make mistakes.

Meyer added that he believes Goosens move to Paris has made his a more rounded player.

“I don’t like it when players play for overseas clubs, but Goosen has changed since moving to France,” said Meyer on Wednesday.

“He’s more mature and in a good mental space. I can see that he is enjoying his rugby again.

“He started very young at this level but then he had a few serious injuries. Perhaps it was a good thing for him to get away from the pressure as well.”

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