Brumbies 22-23 Highlanders, GIO Stadium
Teariki Ben-Nicholas scored the decisive try in the final minute as Highlanders overcame a hat-trick from Folau Fainga'a to register a 22-23 win at GIO Stadium on Saturday.
Despite the win, Highlanders are at last place in New Zealand Conference while Brumbies are at the top of Australian group.
Josh Ioane kick-started the proceedings with a fifth minute penalty goal before Fainga'a led Highlanders' response with a 12th minute try but Noah Lolesio missed out on the conversion.
As the half-time was approaching, Fainga'a scored his second in the 30th minute that was improved by Noah Lolesio as the scoreline became 12-3. The Highlanders though had a slender one-point lead heading into the break as Jona Nareki (32') dotted down and Ioane followed with a conversion and a penalty goal.
Ioane with his third penalty goal at the start of the second half made the scoreline 12-16 but the visitors suffered a setback when Sio Tomkinson was sin-binned for leading with his shoulder in to Tom Banks. However, Brumbies did not make use of the numerical advantage.
Fainga'a with his third kept Brumbies in front as Ryan Lonergan followed with a conversion and a penalty goal ensured the scoreline became 22-16 but things took a complete turn for the Australian side in the added minutes with Murray Douglas yellow-carded and Ben-Nicholas scored the decisive try followed by Ioane's conversion to complete a thrilling one-point win.