RugbyU: Brumbies grab dramatic Super 15 semi-final win

Brumbies of Australia snatched a dramatic 26-23 Super 15 semi-final victory over favourites Northern Bulls of South Africa Saturday with a try one minute from time.

Fly-half Matt Toomua sent outside centre Tevita Kuridrani over for a try that needed a stamp of approval from the South African television match official as the referee queried a possible forward pass.

Amid huge tension in the predominantly Bulls crowd at Loftus Versfeld, TMO Shaun Veldsman gave the 'green light' and inside centre Christian Lealiifano converted for a 16-point haul.

There was still time for the kick-off and a chance for the Bulls to equalise or even regain the lead, but they lost possession and a Brumbie booted the ball into touch to end the game.

The Australians had the better of the opening half and led 16-11 at half-time in a match that brought 2007 Springbok World Cup-winning coach Jake White back to his homeland.

But the sluggish Bulls roused themselves to give a much better performance after the break and a string of penalties from fly-half Morne Steyn earned a 23-19 lead 14 minutes from time.

It could have been a wider margin as three times Bulls No. 8 and skipper Dewald Potgieter opted to kick for touch in the hope of scoring a try instead of going for the posts.

But just when it seemed the decisions would not matter, up popped Kuridrani and the massive vocal support for the home side turned into an eerie silence.

Brumbies travel to Hamilton for the final next Saturday against title-holders Waikato Chiefs, who edged fellow New Zealanders Canterbury Crusaders 20-19 in a cliff-hanger.

Steyn and Lealiifano, the leading Super 15 scorers with 248 and 211 points respectively, claimed 18 and 16 in a semi-final that never matched the intensity of Hamilton hours before.

Lealiifano converted tries by full-back Jesse Mogg and Kuridrani and kicked four penalties while centre JJ Engelbrecht scored the Bulls' lone try and Steyn slotted six penalties.