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WATCH: Bulls' Johan Goosen cries foul over 59-metre penalty controversy against Cheetahs

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Cape Town – It was in the 66th minute that Johan Goosen lined up a penalty kick that would put the Blue Bulls back into the lead against the Cheetahs last weekend.

The match was tight at 28-27 to the Bloemfontein outfit at Loftus Versfeld when lock Ruan Nortjé engineered a breakdown penalty by contesting possession on the ground just in front of his own 10-metre line.

Most teams would then opt to kick the penalty into touch to set up a driving maul perhaps, or take it off the top of the lineout to attack with the backs.

But Goosen walked up from his fullback spot and indicated to captain Marcell Coetzee that he wanted to have a shot at goal, and he started placing the ball on the ground.

Of course, the former Grey College protégé has pulled off such long-distance kicks many times before for his school and even in professional rugby.

But it has been a while since we’ve seen Goosen attempt a 59-metre kick at the posts. He took his time, almost using up the full 60 seconds before he struck the ball.

It went sailing through the thin high altitude air, and appeared to be just over the crossbar and through the uprights… That would have seen the Bulls take a 30-28 lead with 14 minutes left.

But assistant referees Phumzile Mbewu and Jonathan Lottering – who were both positioned against the back of the upright cushions – just stared at each other and retreated back to their respective touchlines without raising their flags, while referee AJ Jacobs was around the Cheetahs 10m line and didn’t say anything.

TMO Aimee Barrett-Theron didn’t intervene either, and the Cheetahs were awarded a 22m drop-out.

Goosen, though, looked on in amazement and could be seen saying “Dis oor (It’s over)” in Afrikaans.

Former SA Test referee Freek Burger said on SuperSport’s Super Rugby programme on Monday night that Goosen’s penalty was definitely over, and the Bulls No 15 himself confirmed this week that he felt the same.

“I also thought so, yes! I didn’t ask the ref, but I don’t understand why it wasn’t looked at,” the 30-year-old said.

“There are so many cameras and they go to the TMOs for other stuff, but if you kick, they leave it…

“So, I was sure that it was over. I haven’t gone and really looked at it again, but I thought it was over.

“But I think it could have turned the game totally around, because we got a few more penalties after that, which we had to kick into touch because we were then four points behind.

“If that kick had been over, we could have kicked to the posts again. But it is what it is, and we have to take it.”

In the end, the Bulls went down 31-27 – despite the first-half red card to No 8 Elrigh Louw – so Goosen’s kick was vital in the grander scheme of things, and the game could have turned out differently if they had been granted the three points, as they should have.

But it was also a reminder of how big Goosen’s boot is when he’s on song, which is why he is still brought up in Springbok selection conversations even after an injury-plagued season and inconsistent form.

The 13-Test Bok could well play an influential role off the tee again for the Bulls in Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein (3pm kickoff).

“I am working hard on it (goal-kicking)… it depends on the day. You do have a certain process that you follow when you kick for goal, and sometimes you are lucky,” he said.

“But it is a big part of my game, and I get a lot of confidence out of that. So, I work hard at it, and if things go well and you are on that wave, then it’s great.

“But it has also gone very badly before, so you enjoy the good times, when it’s going well.”

@ashfakmohamed

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