The Brumbies will fly the Australian flag in the Super Rugby Pacific for another week after a comeback win in their quarter-final against the Hurricanes at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.
While the weekend spelled the end of the road for the NSW Waratahs and the Queensland Reds, the Brumbies recovered from a 10-point second-half deficit to win 35-25 and claim their spot in the final four.
They’ll now prepare for one of the toughest tests in rugby, a trip to Eden Park to battle the Blues for a place in the final.
The Hurricanes had led 22-15 at the half after two tries and some lethal penalty kicking from Jordie Barrett, but a rare miss from the All Blacks star turned the contest on its head early in the second.
Noah Lolesio trimmed the margin to four points with a penalty on the hour-mark and they’d grabbed the lead soon after, a barging run from Nick Frost ending with fullback Tom Banks slicing through the line and scoring.
Tom Wright put it to bed in the 74th minute, cutting through off the back of another powerful maul, with Lolesio’s sideline conversion extending the lead to the final margin.
The huge result snaps the Brumbies’ three-game losing streak and has them dreaming of their first trans-Tasman title since 2004.
It’s also the first time they’ve beaten a New Zealand-based side in a playoff match since 2014.
A not-so-secret weapon had emerged early in the contest, with Barrett drilling long-range kicks including from inside his own half, but the All Black star stepped it up further with a divine cross-field kick finding fullback Josh Moorby to score in the corner for an 11-3 lead.
The Brumbies had got on the board through a Lolesio penalty and showed intent with some big early hits but that proved a part of their undoing, with a Len Ikitau shoulder charge drilling Barrett and earning him a red card on 22 minutes.
Controversially, the Canes then lost Owen Franks from a high shot on Lolesio, but his was judged a yellow card rather than a red.
They did quickly break through though, driving forward from the resulting penalty for Folau Fainga’a to burrow over to make it 14-8 before Irae Simone grabbed them the lead through a powerful run.
But the visitors went to the half ahead, Moorby doubling up late, carving through the line and using his pace to find the corner for a 22-15 advantage.
TRIES: Fainga’a, Simone, Banks
CONS: White 1/2, Lolesio 1/1
PENS: Lolesio 3/4
TRIES: Moorby 2
CONS: Barrett 0/2
PENS: Barrett 5/6
BRUMBIES V HURRICANES TEAMS
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Luke Reimer, 6 Tom Hooper, 5 Caderyn Neville, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 Nick Frost, 20 Rory Scott, 21 Jahrome Brown, 22 Ryan Lonergan, 23 Ollie Sapsford.
Hurricanes:15 Josh Moorby, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Aidan Morgan, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Blake Gibson, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tevita Mafileo.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Caleb Delany, 20 Brayden Iose, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ruben Love, 23 Wes Goosen.
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser, Mike Winter