Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Greg Waits on Bath All-Clear; Falcons Signing Goosen Hopes to Beat Injury Blues

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Greg Waits on Bath All-Clear; Falcons Signing Goosen Hopes to Beat Injury Blues

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith

SUMMER signing Greg Goosen is awaiting the green light from the medical team as Newcastle Falcons prepare for Saturday's Premiership opener against Bath.

The South African full-back missed last Friday's pre-season loss at Edinburgh after receiving stitches to a facial wound sustained in training, but the former Racing Metro man is hopeful of receiving a thumbs-up from the medics in time for the 6.30pm kick-off at Kingston Park.

"I split my nose a bit in a touch-rugby game, but it is nothing too serious and hopefully I will be available for Saturday," said Goosen, who scored one of six Newcastle tries in his home debut against Leeds a fortnight ago.

"I still have some medical tests to come through, and I only just slotted back into training yesterday. The stitches are still in there at the moment, but the signs seem to be positive.and I am hopeful that I can put my hand up for selection."

The ex-Natal Shark's availability at fullback is especially important for the Falcons, given the hip injury which has ruled out previous incumbent Jeremy Manning.

The Kiwi's recovery has been aided by some space-age technology in a revamped Kingston Park medical set-up, with an anti-gravity running machine enabling him to train through the pain.

But with Manning's return to playing action still some weeks away yet, Goosen is the next cab off the rank as Newcastle look for their first opening-day win since a 33-12 triumph over Sale Sharks back in 2007. A tough end to last season saw the Falcons lose their last seven league encounters, and defeat on Saturday would set a new unwanted record for the longest losing streak of their 14-year topflight stay.

"There is a lot of talent and competition for places, and plus it is just a great group of guys," said Goosen, who started at fly-half in the pre-season opener at Glasgow before excelling at No15 in the 36-5 triumph over Leeds. …

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