Super Rugby: Cheetahs out-kick the Bulls
Last Updated: 21/02/14 7:23pm
Francois Hougaard is shut down by the Cheetahs defence
The Cheetahs claimed their first Super Rugby victory over the Bulls, winning 15-9 in a try-less clash in Bloemfontein.
It has taken 12 attempts for the Cheetahs to claim the scalp of South Africa's most successful franchise but beyond the positive result for the home side, it was hardly a memorable clash at the Free State Stadium.
Usually a sure bet to excite, it was the Cheetahs' defence that secured the win this time as they abandoned their usual free-flowing style for a safety-first approach on a very wet, stormy night on the Highveld.
A scrappy first half came to an end with the Cheetahs up 12-3 as Johan Goosen ruled the battle of the boot against his opposite number, Louis Fouche.
The Cheetahs looked the more dangerous side with ball in hand, though the Bulls enjoyed almost two-thirds of the territory but were unable to unlock the Cheetahs' well-organised defence.
Indeed, the wet conditions put a dampener on attacking play and there was just one clear try-scoring opportunity for either side, but a Bulls fumble just short of the line summed up a game short on any real excitement.
The highlight of the first half probably came in the opening minute, when Goosen slotted a drop-goal from long range.
The Bulls were not doing themselves any favours as Fouche missed two very kickable penalties and his replacement early in the second half, Handrè Pollard missed his first attempt too.
Pollard was introduced alongside Victor Matfield early in the second stanza as the visitors looked to take a grip of the game.
The Cheetahs continued to miss long-range drop-goal attempts but Pollard made no mistake with his second effort from the tee to narrow the gap at 12-6.
However Goosen handed his fourth penalty to restore the nine-point lead on the hour-mark as the rain went from a drizzle to torrential.
A late Pollard penalty earned a bonus point for the Bulls.
The Cheetahs now head to Australia to face the Rebels while the Bulls will host the Lions in Pretoria.