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Last-gasp try extends Waratahs' losing streak

Brumbies have now won five on the spin against their Australian rivals.

Isaak Fines dives to score the winning try.
Isaak Fines dives to score the winning try.
Image: AAP/PA Images

BRUMBIES 24-23 WARATAHS

A TRY AND conversion at the death shattered NSW Waratahs’ hopes of snapping a losing streak against the ACT Brumbies Saturday with the Canberra side sneaking home 24-23 in a bruising Super Rugby AU clash.

Issak Fines darted through a gap for the crucial blow with three minutes left and Bayley Kuenzle stepped up to boot the winning kick after Rob Simmons’ team desperately fought a rear-guard action at ANZ Stadium having raced 20-5 ahead.

It handed the Brumbies their fifth straight win against the ‘Tahs dating back to 2018 and made it two victories from two in the domestic rugby competition.

“I’m stoked, you’ve got to take your hat off to Fines,” said Brumbies skipper Allan Alaalatoa, whose side consolidated second spot on the table behind the Queensland Reds, who have played a game more.

“But the ‘Tahs really put us under pressure, they had us camped down in our end for a while. I’m just proud of the boys. It took the full 80 minutes but we got there in the end.”

Defeat leaves the Waratahs with one win from three and captain Simmons was gutted that they threw it away after mostly stifling the Brumbies’ set-piece.

“It’s very disappointing,” he said. “As a pack we fronted up and stopped their maul and they only got through once. That’s what footy is, winning every moment and we let one slip.”

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super-rugby-r3-waratahs-brumbies Irae Simone of the Brumbies is tackled during today's win over the 'Tahs. Source: AAP/PA Images

The Brumbies came out of the blocks quickly with a try inside five minutes after Will Harrison spilled Noah Lolesio’s cross-kick in his own goal area and Tom Cusack pounced on the loose ball.

The young fly-half made amends minutes later by converting a penalty to get his team on the board and landed another to give them a narrow 6-5 lead.

And a yellow card for Brumbies’ winger Andy Muirhead proved costly with the Waratahs exploiting their one-man advantage with two stunning tries in his absence.

Tom Horton, on his starting debut, got the first after spinning out of a maul and going on a solo run before James Ramm nabbed a favourable bounce from a wonderful kick down the wing to also dot down.

But with Muirhead back, the Brumbies stepped it up a level and got their reward when irrepressible hooker Folau Fainga’a flopped over for a try in a sixth successive game — a club record.

And when Rob Valentini stormed over for another just before half-time they had reduced the deficit to 20-17.

It was a much tighter second stanza with another three-pointer from Harrison the only score as the two sides battled for supremacy until the last-gasp heroics from Fines and Kuenzle.

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AFP

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