Bloemfontein - The Cheetahs have taken some much needed momentum for a difficult overseas Super Rugby tour out of their 15-9 win over the Bulls at the Free State stadium in Bloemfontein on Friday.
Beating the visitors for the first time in 12 outings in Super Rugby, the Bloemfontein-based side now head for Australasia where they will face the Rebels, Reds, Hurricanes and Blues before returning home.
On the back of a good victory over the Bulls, captain Adriaan Strauss and his team may just produce a couple of surprises.
“In the past we've put up some big scores when we played good rugby, but on this day I am actually speechless. I am very proud of the guys. We stuck together and we pulled it through. It is great for us as a team before we go on tour. This sort of result just lifts the spirit in the camp,” Strauss said.
After much criticism for his poor kicking performance against the Lions last weekend, the Cheetahs Springbok fly half Johan Goosen produced a stellar kicking performance.
Goosen contributed all the points in his side's victory, kicking a drop goal and four penalties on the night. What is even better news is that Goosen achieved this feat in wet conditions similar to what is expected on their coming tour.
“Credit must go to Johan Goosen and the rest of the kickers. They all performed very well. Our loose forwards, our whole pack. Everyone was very good,” Strauss said.
“The decision making at the back was excellent and I think we kept the Bulls under pressure. The guys at the back showed that we can play in these sort of conditions. I am just immensely proud of the whole team's effort.”
For the Bulls it is back to the drawing board before they take on the Lions next Saturday at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
The Bulls are currently fourth in the South African conference, just one point above the Stormers, who still have to play the Lions on Saturday evening.
Bulls captain and lock Flip van der Merwe was disappointed with his side's performance, admitting that the wet conditions hampered the visitors on the attack.
“This wasn't typical Bloemfontein weather. But that's Super Rugby. If you aren't a hundred percent on the night, you are going to lose the game. We aren't pleased with our game at all,” Van der Merwe said.
“We made a lot of errors and we couldn't execute. That put us under a lot of pressure.
“They used the chances they had and converted them into penalties. That they in turn converted into points. That is how you win Super Rugby.”
The Bulls captain said a big turnaround was needed by his side in the build up to the Lions game next weekend.
“No one is going to do you a favour and let you win a game. You still have to put in the hard yards and play your own game if you want to win,” he said.
“That is what we need to do this week. We need to bounce back.”
The Cheetahs announced their touring squad for Australasia. The Bloemfontein based side departs for Down Under on Sunday.
Forwards: Philip van der Walt, Lappies Labuschagné, Boom Prinsloo, Jean Cook, Francois Uys, Lood de Jager, Ligtoring Landman, Andries Ferreira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Caylib Oosthuizen, Trevor Nyakane, Maks van Dyk, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Ryno Barnes, Hercu Liebenberg.
Backs: Willie le Roux, Hennie Daniller, Cornal Hendricks, Raymond Rhule, Rayno Benjamin, Johann Sadie, Francois Venter, Howard Mnisi, Johan Goosen, Elgar Watts, Shaun Venter, Sarel Pretorius. - Sapa