The Brumbies fought back well in the second half to snatch a dramatic 24-23 victory over the Cheetahs with the last kick of their Super Rugby clash in Canberra on Saturday.
The Cheetahs started brightly and took the early lead through a pnealty from Johan Goosen, but it was the Brumbies who scored the first try when they reacted well to some sloppy play from the visitors.
After the ball bounced loose in midfield Brumbies scrumhalf Nic White was the first to react and he dashed through a group of Cheetahs to break free and burst into the 22 where he was eventually brought down just short of the line.
The Cheetahs were firmly on the back foot and Henry Speight was on hand to crash over in the corner for the opening try in the left corner.
The visitors hit straight back with a fantastic try from a set move off a line-out just inside Brumbies territory. The ball went over the back to where big loosehead prop Coenie Oosthuizen was waiting. He timed the inside ball to flying left wing Willie le Roux to perfection and he weaved his way through the stunned Brumbies defence for a sensational try.
Both sides had periods of promise following that, but the ball was turned over far too easily and far too often as the teams battled to create any kind of sustained pressure and both kickers exchanged penalties just before half-time to give the Cheetahs a 13-10 lead at the break.
The visitors stretched that lead at the start of the second half when scrumhalf Tewis de Bruyn combined brilliantly with Le Roux, who looked electric every time he touched the ball, on the blindside to get over for a try in the corner and when Goosen added another penalty shortly afterwards the Cheetahs were firmly in control at 23-13.
The Brumbies responded by taking the direct route into the Cheetahs' 22, and bashed their way right up to the line before flicking it wide to Pat McCabe who cruised over for the try in the corner.
That was followed up by another two penalties which narrowed the gap to 23-21 in the Cheetahs' favour, but there was no doubt that the Brumbies were finishing the stronger of the two teams with the Cheetahs repeatedly falling foul of the referee's whistle for engaging early at scrum-time.
The Brumbies had all of the momentum in the dying stages and the pressure finally told when the Cheetahs were penalised for not pushing straight in the final minute. Christian Lealiifano stepped up and slotted the kick to give the home side a dramatic victory.
For the Brumbies:
Tries: Speight, McCabe
Pens: Lealiifano 4
For the Cheetahs:
Tries: Le Roux, de Bruyn
Cons: Goosen 2
Pens: Goosen 3
Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Pat McCabe, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 Ita Vaea, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Hegarty, 17 Ruaidhri Murphy, 18 Scott Fardy, 19 Michael Hooper, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Zack Holmes, 22 Joe Tomane.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cameron Jacobs, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Philip Snyman, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 George Earle, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Trevor Nyakane, 17 Hercu Liebenberg, 18 Davon Raubenheimer, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Ryno Benjamin.
Referee: Keith Brown (New Zealand)
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