The cu­ri­ous case of Jo­han Goosen

It has been la­belled one of the sor­ri­est transf er sagas in mod­ern

Rugby World - - RUGBY TRANSFERS -

Au­gust 2016 – earn­ing his sev­enth cap and his first since Novem­ber 2014. He would end up play­ing six more times for them be­fore the year was out.

In Oc­to­ber that year, Goosen was also named as the best player of the Top

14’s 2015-16 sea­son, beat­ing Rac­ing team-mate Dan Carter, and Toulon’s Fi­jian wing Jo­sua Tuisova to the ti­tle.

Yet these ca­reer-high mo­ments are not what he has be­come fa­mous for

– or should that be in­fa­mous. It was his ac­tions in mid-De­cem­ber 2016 when he an­nounced he was re­tir­ing from rugby, and thus leav­ing Rac­ing, aged just 24. He was quit­ting the game, it was an­nounced, so he could be­come a com­mer­cial di­rec­tor at a sad­dle-horse stud farm back home in Bloem­fontein

It was some­thing of an open se­cret in France that Goosen wanted out of his freshly-signed deal, but few could have pre­dicted he’d step away from the game of rugby en­tirely to es­cape it.

At the time Rac­ing’s pres­i­dent Jacky Loren­zetti pub­licly said: “We re­gret that so ob­vi­ously ta­lented a young player has been mis­guided and aban­doned pro­fes­sional rugby.

“Rac­ing 92 re­serves the right for a ju­di­cial fol­low-up to both Jo­han Goosen and those who ad­vise him.”

How long did the ex­ile from rugby last? By Fe­bru­ary 2018, French pub­li­ca­tions re­ported that a deal had been done be­tween Rac­ing and Mont­pel­lier, the lat­ter club – owned by mega-wealthy Mo­hed Al­trad – pay­ing €1.5m (£1.3m) to se­cure Goosen’s ser­vices for the fol­low­ing sea­son.

In March 2018, he was in train­ing kit, run­ning around with the Chee­tahs of Bloem­fontein – where he had pre­vi­ously played 27 times in Su­per Rugby – with the fran­chise an­nounc­ing that he would train with them un­til June.

By April, Goosen played for them in a Guin­ness Pro14 fix­ture against Mun­ster.

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