NEWCASTLE Falcons full-back Greg Goosen is set to step out of professional rugby and pursue a career in accountancy, The Journal can reveal.
The 29-year-old has not played a single game for the Kingston Park club since Dean Richards’ arrival as director of rugby, and has spent the past three months with Agen in France’s Top 14.
That loan deal came to an end last Friday, but the prospects of the former Racing Metro and La Rochelle man pulling on a Falcons shirt look slim in the extreme.
Richards said: “Greg has decided that he would like to take some time out from rugby.
“He wants to pursue a career in accountancy, so we are currently talking about how exactly that will happen.”
The Newcastle boss quickly ruled out the chances of adding to his player pool even if Goosen’s departure is rubber-stamped, stating: “No, it will not mean additional players coming in, but I am happy with the group we have got here.”
Among Richards’ full-back options is Alex Tait who has dominated the No 15 shirt in recent weeks, while Luke Fielden, Tom Catterick, Jimmy Gopperth and Waisea Luveniyali have all played there when required.
Teenage prospect Zach Kibirige could be another coming into longer-term contention, with the Yarm School star understood to be in discussions about remaining with the Championship leaders upon completion of his A-Level studies.
As well as their unbeaten start to the league season the Falcons are also two from two in the British and Irish Cup, a competition which will get their full attention over the next fortnight.
Back-to-back games against Welsh Premiership outfit Newport await them, firstly tomorrow when they travel to Rodney Parade.
The Falcons have made two Heineken Cup and one LV=Cup appearance at the venue, squaring off against the fully-professional Newport Gwent Dragons.
The Dragons are otherwise occupied tomorrow in northern Italy where they tackle Mogliano in the Amlin Challenge Cup, leaving the Falcons to do battle with their semi-pro affiliates.
Newport currently sit in the bottom half of their domestic league after five wins in 11 outings, although Richards is not minded to take their challenge lightly. “We are expecting a hard, physical battle,” he said. “They are very good up front, strong over the ball and every Welsh side invariably turns out quality half-backs. It should be an interesting game.”
The director of rugby will name his side later today, but is expected to offer game-time to a host of his fringe figures as well as one or two returning from injury.
“This competition gives us the chance to have a look at a few of the boys,” said Richards, who hopes to include lock James Hudson among his replacements after a month-long lay-off.
“It is nice to start getting a couple of players back from injury, and James Hudson will hopefully be able to be on the bench.”
After a week in which the weather has been a major talking point, the Falcons boss anticipates no problems in terms of tomorrow’s 2.30pm kick-off getting the go-ahead, stating: “We will bus it down to Newport today as normal.
“We aren’t anticipating any problems. It is going to be warm down in Wales, about five or six degrees, and our information is that there is no real prospect of the game being off.”
One man certainly missing out is prop-forward James Hall, who was yesterday handed a two-game suspension by the club for punching a Plymouth player in last Friday’s 31-15 victory.
Richards said: “James’ suspension has forced our hand a little bit in the front-row, and we are still waiting for one or two injury updates in that area to see how the boys are doing in terms of being ready for kick-off.”