Nic White pressed his claim for a spot in the Australia squad for the British and Irish Lions series with a lively display as the Brumbies edged the Hurricanes 30-23 in a tight Super Rugby contest on Friday.
The Brumbies were forced to defend their line for the last 12 minutes at Canberra Stadium as the Hurricanes fought to keep their season alive but held on to cement their place at the top of the Australian conference.
Scrumhalf White, eyeing one of the six remaining places in Robbie Deans's squad, scored a first-half try and made a couple of breaks to help put the Brumbies nine points ahead of the Reds, who play on Saturday.
Flanker Peter Kimlin also crossed in the second half and Christian Lealiifano, a strong contender for the Wallabies inside centre berth for the Lions series, kicked six penalties and a conversion for the home side.
The Hurricanes did not make it easy for the Brumbies, particularly at the end, but their playoff hopes were all but extinguished despite tries from Reynold Lee-Lo and TJ Perenara as well as 13 points from the boot of Beauden Barrett.
"It was outstanding by the boys," said Brumbies skipper and No 8 Ben Mowen, who is hoping to win his first test cap against the Lions next month.
"To get that win, it's super important for our season. At times there we just had to graft and graft ... great defence."
White pounced on an overthrown lineout ball to touch down in the 22nd minute and that try, combined with Lealiifano's first three penalties, gave the Brumbies a 14-10 halftime lead.
Lealiifano's sixth penalty in the 62nd minute looked to have locked the victory up for the Brumbies with the score at 30-16 but the Hurricanes charged back to give their hosts an almighty scare.
Scrumhalf Perenara barged his way over for a try to confirm the excellent form he hopes will bring him a first All Blacks cap this year and Barrett's conversion made it a seven-point contest.
"We probably left it a bit late," said Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith, who was denied a try towards the end by a last-gasp tackle from Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg.
Brumbies – Tries: Nic White, Peter Kimlin. Conversion: Christian Lealiifano. Penalties: Lealiifano.
Hurricanes – Tries: Reynold Lee-lo, TJ Perenara. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (2). Penalty: Barrett (3).