THE greatest irony about the criticism that has gone Heyneke Meyer’s way for his surprise selection of Johan Goosen is that some of it has come from former Springbok utility back Gaffie du Toit.

Du Toit, a rugby hack’s favourite from an armchair psychologist’s point of view, pointed out in sarugbymag.co.za that the Bok coach was sending out the wrong message to local players by picking overseas-based players who were barely playing.

The ironic part about the rant is how Goosen’s career is already starting to mirror Du Toit’s.

Both child prodigies who could drop-kick from the parking lot, Du Toit and Goosen’s first forays into international rugby as flyhalves ended unsatisfactorily.

Where Goosen’s infamously brittle body kept letting him down, Du Toit forever struggled with an apparent injury to the hamstring between the ears.

It’s cruel to describe it that way, given what a thoroughly decent human being the bloke is, but getting his head around international rugby always seemed to scramble his Du Toit’s brain.

His return to the international fold, as appears to be the case with Goosen now, was facilitated by a move away from the brain-melting and bone-jarring traffic jam in the flyhalf channel, to fullback.

There, Du Toit seemed rehabilitated until Percy Montgomery came back from a hand injury in 2004 and went on to win the World Cup for Jake White three years later.

So while there may be legitimate doubts about whether the gifted Goosen should even be given a chance so hastily after succumbing to the euro at the ripe old age of 22, there is the kind of lateral thinking not usually associated with Meyer in the decision.

Looking at Goosen’s attributes and skills set, there is no reason he shouldn’t do well at fullback.

Crucially, the decision moves Goosen away from the one thing he seemed to struggle with in his truncated appearances between injuries — game management at stand-off.

The first important aspect of the abilities that will come in handy is his speed off the mark. Pat Lambie, the Boks’ official reserve for fullback Willie le Roux, ticks every box in the position except for searing pace.

In a world with people called Israel Folau, Israel Dagg, Ben Smith and Le Roux, the need for speed is non-negotiable.

Goosen also happens to have a monster boot.

Any commentator will tell you that the most over-used expression in rugby matches today is something called an exit strategy.

When you have a howitzer boot like Goosen’s, there’s no elaborate strategy needed to get out of your 22.

Whether he has the skills for the high ball should be negated by his height and, given that he is such a skilful player, it shouldn’t take too long to get the hang of it.

Crucially, the decision moves Goosen away from the one thing he seemed to struggle with in his truncated appearances between injuries — game management at stand-off.

The other flyhalves in the Bok equation, Handrè Pollard, Lambie and Morné Steyn, all score higher in that area.

But there would be nothing stopping Goosen deputising at first receiver after a few phases, when there is more time and space for him to do his thing.

Meyer’s decision has also shed light on two other things.

The first is that it would appear he is starting to think of Lambie as a flyhalf.

The second is that while most might think Steyn’s selection is a reluctance to let go, the former Bulls flyhalf is in danger of not making the World Cup squad should Pollard and Lambie keep displaying the international form they have shown this season.

Either way, Goosen’s selection as a possible fullback could be a masterstroke.

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