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Goosen kicks Cheetahs to historic win

AAP
Saturday, February 22, 2014

Update: 1:03PM 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 on Friday.

It was an ugly win in a kick-dominated game at the Free State Stadium but 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 got one over their greatest bogey team.

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 -- and the one that failed was a long-range effort that rebounded off the crossbar.

The former champions Bulls owed many past victories to Steyn, and the Pretoria outfit are finding it hard 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 and 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 and torrential, did not help, but the conditions cannot excuse some of the basic handling and field-kicking errors.

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 and loose forward AJ Venter.