Goosen wins award, goes under the knife
Springbok flyhalf Johan Goosen experienced both the highs and lows of modern rugby as he received the Toyota Cheetahs Player of the Year award less than 24 hours before undergoing an operation to his knee which will see him miss the rest of the season.
Goosen, who burst onto the scene last year and was a virtual shoo-in for the Springbok flyhalf role this year, was a popular choice for Player of the Year at the Cheetahs' year-end function held in Bloemfontein on Monday night.
It was a fitting reward for a player who has created so much excitement and expectation over the past year, and who is widely seen as the future of South African rugby.
But after receiving his award, Goosen had to prepare on Tuesday to undergo the knife, thanks to a grade 3 medial ligament tear to his knee which he picked up playing for the Springboks against the All Blacks on Saturday.
Goosen was operated on late Tuesday afternoon, confirmed by Cheetahs team doctor Ian Morris, and will be out of action now for six months as he makes a long recovery and misses out on the Boks' November tour to Ireland, Scotland and England.
But on Monday night, Goosen was the hero once again, getting the award which was given for “consistent excellent form, skill, fitness, loyalty, perseverance and sportsmanship”.
There were also big wins for new sensation and SA under-20 winger Raymond Rhule, who pocketed two of the four awards given out and was the star of the night among his peers.
Rhule took home the Best Improvement award as well as the prestigious Toyota Cheetahs Players’ Player of the Year award.
The winger/centre came back from the illustrious IRB Junior World Championship win in Cape Town and has been the leading try-scorer in the Absa Currie Cup this season, dotting down eight times in nine games.
Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss also took home an award, taking the Rugby Star of the y Year award – which is given to a player who is the best example of an ambassador for the Cheetahs, as well as for rugby in South Africa.
This weekend Strauss is likely to turn out for his team as the Free State side do battle in the final round of the Absa Currie Cup against Western Province, with a win giving them a possible semifinal spot and a loss a likely promotion-relegation game.