Johan Goosen faces lengthy spell on sidelines after horror ankle injury

Johan Goosen played 13 Tests for South Africa. Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

Johan Goosen has fractured his right ankle and will be out for a minimum of 12 weeks just months after his controversial return to French rugby at Montpellier.

The former Springboks flyhalf also pulled ligaments as he was tackled by Toulon wing Daniel Ikpefan and fell awkwardly in only the sixth minute of their Top 14 clash at the weekend, which Montpellier won 29-17.

"I'm very disappointed by the injury but there is unfortunately nothing I can do about it," Goosen told the South African Beeld newspaper on Wednesday.

Goosen has illustrious company on Montpellier's injury list, with fellow South African Francois Steyn having torn a biceps against Toulouse a fortnight ago and former All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden sidelined with a calf injury.

The South African's injury, and that of Cruden, represents a blow to Montpellier's ambitions in the European Cup as they are left with just inexperienced 20-year-old Thomas Damon at pivot. He has had only 19 minutes of playing time this season.

France centre Alexandre Dumoulin replaced Goosen in the match, and he could be selected by coach Vern Cotter at No. 10 again when Montpellier host Edinburgh on Saturday -- as could South African scrum-half Ruan Pienaar.

Goosen returned to French rugby this season after walking out on Racing 92 at the end of 2016, when he declared suddenly that he was retiring from the game and returning to farming in the Free State.

The contractual dispute cost him hundreds of thousands of Euros as he faced legal action by the Parisian club.

But the case was eventually settled when Montpellier made him an offer and settled a fee with Racing.

Goosen returned to rugby in April, with an appearance in the in the PRO14 for the Cheetahs, before going back to France, where he had been in top form in recent weeks.

Montpellier are fourth in the Top14 standings with 20 points, five behind leaders Clermont after seven rounds of this season's championship.