Racing 92 defence coach Ronan O’Gara has spoken about his shock at the news of Johan Goosen’s retirement from professional rugby, writes Stephen Barry.
The South African international and Top 14 player of the year has told his club that he is returning to his native country after “an alleged hiring as a commercial director”, according to a statement from Racing 92.
The sudden announcement in advance of Racing’s 23-7 loss to Glasgow, which effectively knocks them out of Champions Cup contention, came as a surprise to O’Gara.
“I found out on Twitter, and I’m part of the management team,” he told BT Sport in advance of the game at Scotstoun.
“Obviously there’s been a bit of unrest for the last few weeks but that news completely shocked everyone. It’s obviously not ideal preparation.
“He was part of a fantastic team that succeeded in getting to and winning a final last year and when he’s in the right frame of mind we need him.
“At breakfast we’ll get on top of that and see what we can do.”
The former out-half had previously spoken about the excitement of working with the 24-year-old, who he said “is only going to get better”.
A statement from president Jacky Lorenzetti, released on the club's official website, read: "Johan Goosen, whose contract was largely re-evaluated less than a year ago, now claims to be able to get rid of it in a fantastic manner.
"He announced today that he had made the unbelievable decision to stop his career as a player and return to South Africa, with an alleged hiring as a commercial director.
"We regret of course that such a young and talented player is mistaken and declares to abandon professional rugby - as it seems obvious that this role of commercial director is incompatible with a high-level sports practice.
"We would like to add that Racing 92 have always largely supported Johan Goosen both morally and financially, even though he has unfortunately demonstrated lately a certain lack of responsibility towards his partners, his coaches and more broadly of all the members of his club and his supporters.
"Hopefully he will quickly realise that respect for a contract, like that of the given word, is the basis of all human and professional relationships."
The statement suggested legal action would follow, concluding: "Of course, the club reserve the right to give such conduct all appropriate judicial follow-up, both with regard to Johan Goosen and those who advise him."