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Fans left shocked as incredible penalty try ruling decides Super Rugby Pacific match

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Saturday May 18, 2024

The Brumbies have taken victory over a much improved Crusaders side in a scintillating match at GIO Stadium Canberra today.

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The home side took a comprehensive early lead through quick consecutive tries from back three players Andy Muirhead and Tom Wright.

Their progress in the match was quickly halted after inside centre, Tamati Tua found himself in the bin. The Crusaders’ own speedster Johnny McNicholl shortly touched down after a period of silky skills from the Christchurch-based side.

The Crusaders’ chances at getting themselves a foothold back in the match didn’t last long, however, after their hopes were dashed toward the end of the half when a perfectly weighted kick allowed the Brumbies fullback Tom Wright to take the Canberra side 17 – 7 up at half time.

The second half was to become the tale of the almighty comeback from the team in red and black. Sevu Reece broke the defensive line shortly into the second period, re-enacting the parting of the Red Sea to regain some momentum for the visitors.

With the Crusaders pressing hard to take the must-win match back into their callused hands, the substitutions started to roll in. Just when it appeared the visitors were ready to truly establish control in the match, Brumbies number 8 Rob Valetini steamrolled over for a vital score for his team.

As the match entered its final passage, some individual brilliance from Noah Hotham led to a try for Crusaders, followed by a penalty kick from Chay Fihaki shortly after, which drew the match level as the game headed into the final few minutes.

The final play of the match would lead referee Ben O’Keefe to once again make the big call when the ball was knocked dead from a penalty kick. Aiming for the three points that would win the match, Brumbies fly half Noah Lolesio saw his effort cascade off the uprights, before Crusaders lock Quinten Strange slapped the ball out of play. Deemed foul play and an illegal move in rugby union, the yellow card was issued to the player as the winning penalty try was issued.

Final Score: Brumbies 31 – 24 Crusaders

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