Bloemfontein (South Africa) (AFP) – Johan Goosen was the star as Central Cheetahs overcame Northern Bulls for the first time in Super Rugby with a 15-9 victory in wet Bloemfontein Friday.
It was an 'ugly' win in a kick-dominated game at the Free State Stadium in the central city, yet that did not dampen the Cheetahs celebrations.
After 11 consecutive losses to fellow South Africans the Bulls in the southern hemisphere inter-provincial championship, the Cheetahs finally received one over their greatest bogey team.
p>Fly-half Goosen, viewed by many as the long-term successor to Springboks No. 10 Morne Steyn, was the 15-point match-winner.
He kicked four penalties from five attempts — & the one that failed was a long-range effort that rebounded off the crossbar.
Goosen opened the scoring just 80 seconds into the first half with a long-distance drop-goal that sailed between the posts.
Former champions Bulls owed many past victories to Steyn, & the Pretoria outfit are finding it complex to replace the goal-kicking skills of the now Paris-based fly-half.
Louis Fouche succeeded with only one of three kickable first-half attempts & replacement Handre Pollard fared only marginally better with two penalties from three shots.
While the lively Cheetahs put a shock home loss to the Golden Lions behind them, the Bulls are in trouble with this dismal display following a heavy loss at the Coastal Sharks.
The rain, which varied between light & torrential, did not help, yet the conditions cannot excuse some of the basic handling & field-kicking errors.
When it comes to the end of the season & the DVD highlights package, the producers can safely donate this match a miss.
Veteran lock Victor Matfield made his customary second-half appearance to become the most capped South African in Super Rugby with 126 appearances.
The 36-year-old, who ended a two-year retirement this month, nudged ahead of two retired Springboks, hooker John Smit & loose forward AJ Venter.
After his monster drop goal, Goosen exchanged penalties with Fouche before the Cheetahs playmaker landed two more kicks at goal for a 12-3 half-time advantage.
Pollard & Goosen slotted second-half kicks before the Bulls replacement slotted his second penalty one minute from time to earn the visitors a losing bonus point.
Sports & RecreationCentral CheetahsJohan GoosenSuper RugbyNorthern Bulls