The Brumbies were back in finals action for the first time since 2004 against a Cheetahs side who were making their finals debut.
The match really did go down to the wire, with the Cheetahs scoring right at the death. Unfortunately for the visitors Riaan Smit’s conversion attempt,that would have sent the match to extra time, hit the post and the Brumbies came out on top 15-13.
The Brumbies started the match off well and looked to have exorcised the demons from last week’s poor game against the Force.
They looked like they could extend their lead but the visitors certainly didn’t look like they were worried about the cold conditions.
Scrambling defence and turnover ball were keeping the Cheetahs in the match with Heinrich Brussow a menace at the breakdown.
In the 15th minute they took the lead with the opening try of the match to outside centre Johann Sadie after a brilliant pass in the lead up.
The home side had further chances to add to their score, but a series of missed penalties from Leali’ifano kept the visitors just in front.
It was third time lucky for Leali’ifano as his second penalty goal gave the Brumbies a slender 6-5 lead at the break.
The second half started with more of the same with neither team really able to get on top.
The Cheetahs took back the lead with a penalty to Riaan Smit but the Brumbies snatched it back almost immediately with a long range penalty to Nic White.
The Brumbies had an excellent chance to score their first try but they bombed it with the Cheetahs pressuring them into a mistake on the left wing.
The Brumbies added two more penalties to extend their lead to seven points with just over ten minutes to play.
The Cheetahs looked to have bombed their chances of scoring with a dropped ball right on the Brumbies line to give the home side some relief. They kept playing right to the end and with Ryno Benjamin diving over in the left corner with time almost up, silence fell over the crowd with Smit lining up his conversion attempt from the sideline.
The crowd held their breath as Smit hit his shot which looked good off the boot but just hooked to the left and it hit the upright to give the Brumbies the win.
Photographs courtesy of Tim Anger Photography www.timanger.com.au/
The Game Changer
Riaan Smit’s conversion at the end had the crowd on the edge of their seat and they deserved better after scoring two tries to nil.
The G&GR MOTM
Scott Sio’s scrummaging was excellent as the Brumbies were able to dominate the bigger Cheetah pack.
Score & Scorers
Penalties: Lealiifano 4, White
Tries: Sadie, Benjamin
Cards & Citings