Cheetahs beat ACT Brumbies 27-21 in Super Rugby
BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa (AP) — The Cheetahs withstood a furious fightback by the ACT Brumbies to triumph 27-21 in a scrappy Super Rugby encounter on Saturday.
The South African side began the game at the bottom of the standings and with a tendency to concede late points, but bucked that trend to hold off the Australian conference leader and move up to 12th on the table.
With both teams scoring two tries, the Brumbies were left to lament three missed penalty attempts and one missed conversion in a game in which Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen enjoyed an excellent night from the tee, and landed a dropped goal from inside his own half.
Robbie Coleman and Stephen Moore crossed the whitewash for the visitors, but it was tries from Willie le Roux and Goosen in the space of four minutes that swung the game in favor of the Cheetahs shortly after halftime.
Goosen had struggled against the Western Force last week in his first start after a prolonged injury absence, but showed glimpses of the form that previously made him South Africa’s preferred flyhalf, as he notched up 22 points.
While he landed three early penalties for the Cheetahs, Christian Lealiifano missed two attempts and Nic White missed another after taking over kicking duties for the Brumbies.
However, the visitors scored the only try of an error-strewn first half when White’s perfectly weighted grubber allowed left winger Coleman to score in the corner.
Although White’s penalty on the stroke of halftime gave the Brumbies an 11-9 lead at the break, their advantage did not last long as a set move by the Cheetahs put left winger Le Roux over in the corner, and then Goosen beat Coleman to substitute Elgar Watts’ up and under to score.
Goosen and White exchanged penalties to send the game into the final stages with the hosts leading 24-14, and a tense finish was guaranteed when Heinrich Brussow was yellow-carded and the resulting penalty allowed Moore to score off the back of a rolling maul.
However, Goosen eased the home crowd’s nerves with his astonishing dropped goal from distance with two minutes remaining.
“When we needed to in the last couple of minutes, we kept it tight, and the kicking game was spot-on,” Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss said.
“That’s what you need to close down games like this, and it’s something that we’ve lacked during the season.”
Cheetahs 27 (Johan Goosen, Willie le Roux tries; Goosen conversion, 4 penalties, dropped goal) Brumbies 21 (Robbie Coleman, Stephen Moore tries; Nic White conversion, 3 penalties). HT: 9-11.