The Brumbies have out-muscled fierce rivals the Waratahs to cling on for a nail-biting 28-23 Super Rugby victory at Canberra Stadium.
Some ill discipline forced the Brumbies to play almost the entire final 20 minutes a man down, but the ACT franchise managed to limp across the line and hold out a fast finishing Waratahs outfit that piled on 14 late points.
It was brutal, fierce rugby. There was no quarter given, and certainly none asked.
Brumbies blindside flanker Scott Fardy was sensational in defence and over the ball, while he also carried hard in attack.
Brumbies five-eighth Matt Toomua also set a blistering line speed in defence with accompanying hits that will leave the ribs of Waratahs playmakers Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley stinging for days.
Waratahs No.7 Michael Hooper was outstanding for the visitors, haunting his former side at the breakdown with some crucial turnovers as well as a 63rd minute try.
The Brumbies had just 20 per cent possession in the first 10 minutes, resulting in a 6-3 lead to the Waratahs.
The Brumbies trailed 6-3 early, but quickly found their feet when halfback Nic White scampered over in the 14th minute.
Livewire Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg then lit up Canberra stadium just one minute later when he chipped over rival fullback Israel Folau’s head and won the race to ground the ball by the slimmest of margins to establish a 17-6 lead.
The Brumbies’ scrum was so dominant early that not only did they force a short arm penalty from a Waratahs feed late in the first half, but earned a penalty off the ensuing scrum to kick out to a 20-9 lead at the break.
Trailing was uncharted territory for the Waratahs in 2014, and the Brumbies had all the early chances in the second half.
Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen turned down two shots at goal in attempt to break the visitor’s backs, and while the Waratahs repelled them both times, the home side soon crossed over through centre Tevita Kuridrani for a 25-9 lead.
Toomua was given a yellow card in the 60th minute for not rolling away from a tackled player, and the Tahs quickly made the most of the numerical advantage through Hooper’s try to narrow the gap to 25-16.
Another Brumbies yellow card to reserve prop Juan Smith with seven minutes to go then threatened to turn the match on its head.
Folau brushed aside four players to score in the corner with six minutes left, Foley converting to narrow the gap 25-23.
But the Brumbies hung on, White, who kicked five from six, slotting an 80th minute penalty to put his side top of the Australian conference and hand the Waratahs their first loss of the season.
Brumbies flyer Henry Speight came off in the first half with a possible broken jaw.