Brumbies secure controversial victory
March 30, 2013
Etienne Oosthuizen impressed on his starting debut for the Bulls
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The Brumbies have secured a dramatic victory over the Bulls at Canberra Stadium, Christian Lealiifano landing a controversial penalty goal after the siren, from 40 metres in front of the goal, just moments after the visitors had levelled the score with a converted breakaway try.
Bulls captain Pierre Spies remonstrated with referee Jonathon White after he had been penalised for not releasing the ball in a ruck, and television replays showed Brumbies scrum-half Nic White lying over the ball to indicate that the visitors should have been awarded the penalty. Lealiifano cared not, however, and he landed the goal to send the Brumbies back to the top of the consolidated ladder after they had been overtaken by the Chiefs.
The Brumbies led 14-3 at half-time, after Robbie Coleman had scored a try in time added-on at the end of the stop-start stanza punctuated by White's whistle, but they seemed to show in the second half the lagging effects of having returned from South Africa as the Bulls scored two well-worked tries to square the ledger.
Left winger Petrus Visser crossed the line out wide but dropped the ball in the process after a slick handling move across the back line, but the Brumbies' let off was short-lived as a misplaced pass in the very next attack freed Visser on the overlap for a well-taken try.
Morne Steyn and Lealiifano traded penalties before the Bulls produced a try of sheer simplicity, a break to halfway enabling the visitors to create space out wide where centre JJ Engelbrecht burst clear of the despairing cover to cross in the corner.
Steyn added a superb conversion from out wide and we seemed set for the first draw of the season, only for referee White to make his decisive decision.
"I only saw it one way," Brumbies captain Ben Mowen laughed when asked about the decisive penalty.
"It's not easy to win on the road, but [the Bulls] push it right down to the wire and I'm glad with the way our guys stuck to it. We had one opportunity to train this week so … trying to address attack issues when you've come off a hard loss is a challenge coming back from Africa. I'm really proud of the way the guys showed up this week. It wasn't an easy week to prepare, and to get a result like that is huge for us."
Spies said he was proud of the way his undermanned team fought back in the second half. "There's a lot of things we can take out of this tour; a lot of good experience gained, but we have to fight back when we get back home," Spies said.
The Brumbies celebrated hard after winning despite letting slip an 11-point advantage (video available only in Australia)
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