Madosh Tambwe scored four minutes from the end to give the Lions a six-point buffer atop the South African Conference with a hard-earned 26-23 win over the Stormers.
Winless in their two previous outings, the struggling Stormers looked to have defied Raymond Rhule’s 50th-minute red card when a pair of Jean-Luc du Plessis penalties put them four points ahead with little time remaining.
But winger Tambwe finished off Hacjivah Dayimani’s pass to consolidate his team’s lead on Jaguares and leave the hosts five points adrift of the play-off spots.
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Rhule, who was sent off for an aerial collision with Ruan Combrinck, had earlier given the Stormers a 10-point lead at half-time when he touched down from Craig Barry’s clever kick, adding to Dewaldt Duvenage’s fourth-minute try.
But the Lions always remained within reach thanks to Corne Fourie, who muscled over moments after the match-turning dismissal and completed a crucial double with 20 minutes remaining to set the platform for team-mate Tambwe.
— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) May 26, 2018
Tom Banks and Andy Muirhead both crossed inside the final 10 minutes to remarkably snap a five-game losing streak that had seemed certain to continue after Folau Fainga’a saw red on the hour.
The hooker, one of five scorers for the Brumbies, left his team in a perilous position after headbutting prop Matthys Basson, with Handre Pollard’s subsequent penalty giving the Bulls a four-point lead.
But the South African side failed to capitalise on the numerical advantage, shipping four tries in a costly second-half collapse.
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