BRUMBIES 14 LIONS 12
Crashing back to earth: Billy Twelvetrees of the Lions is tackled by Matt Toomua. Photo: Getty Images
The ACT Brumbies have crushed the British and Irish Lions' confidence on the eve of the Test series with a historic victory at Canberra Stadium.
In a battle that will go down in rugby folklore, the young Brumbies became the first Australian provincial side to beat the Lions in more than 40 years.
Lions vs Brumbies
Lions vs Brumbies, June 18 at Canberra Stadium. Photo: Mark Metcalfe
The 14-12 triumph in freezing conditions is a massive blow for the Lions just days out from the first Test against the Wallabies in Brisbane.
Sure, the Lions fielded a second-string line-up to protect their stars from injury.
But the Brumbies were without a dozen top-line players and still managed to fight and grind their way to one of the biggest upsets in rugby history.
In just two years South African Jake White has taken the Brumbies from a disastrous rabble to Super Rugby contenders and now world beaters.
The Brumbies will refocus for the Super Rugby finals when the competition resumes on July 13.
They've locked in their place at the top of the Australian conference and will bask in the glory of beating the best players in Europe.
It was a win that made Wallabies great and Brumbies legend Stephen Larkham cry.
Larkham was part of the Wallabies' triumphant series against the Lions in 2001.
He's won World Cups, Bledisloe Cups, Tri Nations and Super Rugby titles.
"This is one of the best, very emotional," Larkham said with tears in his eyes.
"The boys knew what they were doing, we've closed out some teams this year but this is one of the best.
"I'm very emotional, we're going to enjoy this tonight and then refocus on the Force."
The two-point win will be a huge boost for Australian rugby ahead of the Test series.
Despite the Brumbies leading the Australian conference, the match was shunted to a Tuesday night while NSW and Queensland played on a Saturday night.
It brought back memories of the 2001 tour when the Brumbies almost clinched a historic victory, only to fall to a heart-breaking defeat in the dying stages.
On paper Tuesday night's match it was an massive mismatch. The Lions boasted almost 600 Test caps despite missing most of their starting line-up.
In comparison, the Brumbies had just 28 shared between two players.
The Brumbies are the first Australian provincial side to beat the Lions since Queensland won in 1971.
They are the first provincial side in the world to beat the Lions since Northern Transvaal in 1997.
Brumbies coach and South African World Cup-winning mentor Jake White described the result as one of the highlights of his career.
"You have to put it in perspective, it's humbling to think these young boys have done that," White said.
"They were fantastic, the way they were able to grind it out and win ... the way it unfolded, it was good to see them off."
The Brumbies staved off a last-ditch attempt from the Lions and celebrated after the siren as the ball was booted into the grandstand.
Outside centre Tevita Kuridrani scored the only try of the match before the teams traded penalty goals.
The Brumbies played like the Super Rugby title contenders while the Lions were ironing out some kinks before the Tests begin.
It frustrated the Lions. Experience and class should have had them well in front.
But the Brumbies' determination strangled the visitors and tempers threatened to boil over when Lions flanker Sean O'Brien started to push the Brumbies players.
The Brumbies positioned themselves for a major upset when they led 8-3 at half-time.
Mogg booted two penalty goals after the break to stretch the lead to 14-3, but the Lions hit back with Stuart Hogg slotting one of his own.
The Lions sent in reinforcements to launch a late charge and penalty goals got them within just two points with less than 10 minutes remaining.
BRUMBIES 14 (Tevita Kuridrani try Jesse Mogg 3 pens) bt LIONS 12 (Owen Farrell 2, Stuart Hogg 2 pens) at Canberra Stadium. Referee: Jerome Garces. Crowd: 21,655.