I was at home on Saturday night 29th October 2016, I never felt much like going out. I was going through the tv schedule and was looking on all the channels to see if there was anything interesting on. I had decided I was going to watch the movie Solomon Kane. I thought before it starts let me just check the sports channels to see if any rugby was on. Yes there was a Top 14 game between Bayonne and Racing 92. I thought Johan Goosen plays for Racing, let me give this a watch and I put it on, the game was in the second half already. Earlier in the day I had watched England lose to New Zealand 16-17 in the rugby league Four Nations tournament. I hardly ever watch Rugby League but this was an enjoyable game to watch. I then watched Leinster, without several players that have been called up to the Ireland squad for the Autumn Internationals, play very well to beat Connacht. Maybe it was because I had already watched rugby earlier in the day but this Top 14 game was hard to stay interested in.
Dan Carter had pulled out of the Racing team just before kick-off so Johan Goosen started in the fly-half berth.Having read so many comments on the various South African rugby sites stating that Johan Goosen at flyhalf would be the solution to South Africa’s woes regarding performance, gameplan, attack, defence or whatever else the commentors reckon Goosen will miraculously fix, I thought this was a great opportunity to see what he can do.
I can’t blame Goosen or Bayonne’s flyhalf, Willie du Plessis, for one of the most frustrating and downright boring games I have seen in a while. The Racing team loaded with stars like Chris Masoe and Yannick Nyanga were error ridden just when you thought they were going to make it happen there would be the inevitable knock on or forward pass. Romain Poite made liberal use of the TMO which slowed the game down even further.
For long periods of that second half Racing were dominant but Goosen never looked like he had any control of this match. His decision making was suspect I saw several show and goes, never actually cutting through the defence. One of these show and goes was just inside his 22m area. Dewi Morris the former England scrumhalf was commentating on the match and critised Goosen and said in that instance he should have been looking to just clear. I saw the gap that Goosen saw and I liked the adventure. In rugby it is inspired if it works but foolish if it doesn’t. Imagine the critism Goosen would get for doing that in a Bok top.
There was a good attack developing for Racing and there was space and numbers out to the left. Goosen received the ball, the excitement rose and then Goosen fired a pass straight into the enormous Ben Tameifuna who seemed to be in the way. Goosen seemed livid by this, throwing his arms in the air and you could see him shouting in anger and giving Tameifuna a dirty look, walking away he continued his rant looking back at Tameifuna several times thus letting all spectators know that the big tighthead was to blame for ruining a good chance.
I think that Goosen’s behaviour was one of a spoilt brat. Having forwards run lines off a flyhalf is normal and should be expected and a flyhalf should be able to react quickly to whatever unexpected things that happen. Goosen could have thrown a dummy pass letting Tameifuna run past and then throw the pass out wide or he could have looped a pass over Tameifuna. That ball needed to get out wide and the answer was never to try shoot a pass into Tameifuna. I felt he threw that pass out of frustration and by shooting it into Tameifuna was spiteful.
Oh Yeah! Bayonne also had an ex Cheetah playing at flyhalf in Willie du Plessis. Truth is du Plessis was awful on the night missed reasonably easy kicks and managed to conjure nothing out of a boring Bayonne side.