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Super Rugby: Late penalty lifts Brumbies past Bulls in Canberra
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Christian Lealiifano kicked a penalty after the final hooter had sounded to seal the Brumbies a dramatic 23-20 victory over the Bulls.
The battling Bulls looked to have grabbed a late draw in Canberra when Johannes Engelbrecht crossed for a try in the 79th minute that Morne Steyn successfully converted from out wide.
However, there was still enough time left for the Brumbies to be awarded a controversial penalty, referee Jonathon White ruling that Pierre Spies had not released the ball at a ruck in the shadow of his own posts.
The call - which looked to be harsh when watched back on television - allowed Lealiifano to step up and slot over a simple penalty from right in front.
The hosts had looked in danger of throwing away a 14-3 lead at the break; Lealiifano landed three penalties but his conversion attempt hit the post after Robbie Coleman crossed just before the end of the half.
The full-back joined the line at pace, cutting inside to create space and get through the defensive line. Coleman stretched over at the second attempt to ground the ball after it had looked like he might be stopped just short.
All the Bulls had managed in response was a solitary penalty from Steyn, though they pulled within four points when Jurgen Visser crossed on the left after 48 minutes.
Although Steyn added a further penalty to close the gap to one, the Bulls' hopes of a comeback were hit by the sin-binning of Morne Mellett.
Lealiifano booted six more points, only for the visitors to get on terms with a breakaway try that came about from a turnover. The ball was quickly worked to Engelbrecht, who showed blistering speed to get clear down the left.
Yet the Brumbies refused to be denied, Lealiifano stepping up to be the hero and send his franchise back to the top of the Super Rugby standings.
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