The Cheetahs, after leading 10-7 at halftime, were full value for their 22-7 win in Bloemfontein on Saturday and will now travel to Durban this weekend to face the heavily fancied Sharks in the second semifinal.
“We came here and believed that we could achieve the goals we had set ourselves,” said Ross.
“It hasn’t been a season we had hoped for, but I must give credit to the guys who tried really hard after all the flak they received,” he said.
It was especially the two tries Cheetahs flyhalf Elgar Watts was involved in that broke the Bulls’ backs.
First, he sliced through a midfield gap to set up Robert Ebersohn’s try and then, in the second half, he charged down a Jan Serfontein chip to race through to score.
“The Cheetahs are a quality side and we made some crucial mistakes, which they pounced on,” reflected Ross.
Returning Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss scored his team’s third try late in the game, beating the Bulls’ Bok centre JJ Engelbrecht in a race to the tryline.
“The try was a bit lucky, but it’s great to be back (from the Boks) and start off with a win in such an important game,” said Strauss.
After coming up short twice in their campaign against the Sharks, losing 18-15 in Bloemfontein and then being whipped 50-26 in Durban, Strauss realised what a daunting challenge awaits.
“This weekend will be a tough challenge and it will be vital to get quality ball on the front foot,” said Strauss.
“We lost about two or three lineouts and we’ll have to work on that and our physicality – but I’m proud of the guys’ workrate and how they managed to get up off the deck.”