The Brumbies snatched a victory in extra time against the Crusaders when Stirling Mortlock kicked a conversion for Mark Gerrard's try to make the score 18-16 to the home side.
The Brumbies spent most of the match attacking but the Crusaders held them out when it mattered right until full time when the Brumbies got Mark Gerrard (pictured) over the line to level the scores.
Wallaby back Mark Gerrard crossed over wide out after the Brumbies' relentless attacks peppered the Crusaders' try-line, giving Mortlock the chance to kick the Brumbies to victory.
Mortlock hooked in his conversion attempt from the right touchline to break the Crusaders' hearts after they had tackled themselves to a standstill, repelling concerted second-half attacks from the home side.
The Brumbies are proving themselves the masters of brinkmanship this season, having beaten the Highlanders 33-31 with a late drop goal the previous weekend in Dunedin.
But the Crusaders lost no friends with their disciplined tackling, with the Brumbies enjoying 60 percent of the possession and camped in the opposition's quarter for almost eight minutes of the match.
The Crusaders displayed their outstanding player depth when they rose to the task without All Black skipper McCaw, lock Brad Thorn and fullback Leon McDonald as well as losing experienced hooker Corey Flynn with a first-half injury.
They capitalised on two Brumbies mistakes to cash in on their tries, with exciting centre Casey Laulala swooping on George Smith's blind flick pass and racing over from halfway in the 18th minute for the early lead.
Young Brumbies flyhalf Christian Lealiifano backed up Smith's break for the home side's first try in the 33rd minute, but the Crusaders went to halftime leading 11-8 after a Stephen Brett penalty.
Mortlock levelled with a 54th minute penalty, but Lealiifano's clearing kick was charged down by Colin Slade minutes later for lock Ross Filipo to score in the corner.
Filipo's try looked to have clinched the four competition points for the Kiwis as they hustled the Brumbies into mistakes with their swarming defence.
Just when they were within sight of a deserved victory against the odds, they were denied by Gerrard's equalising try and Mortlock's match-winning conversion.
The Brumbies stretched their home record over the Crusaders to six wins in nine meetings at Canberra Stadium.
The Brumbies will have a home Australian derby game next Saturday against Western Force, while the Crusaders take on the Hurricanes in Christchurch on Friday.
Brumbies coach Andy Friend complimented the opposition.
"Their defense was superb, their line speed was phenomenal, their physicality was great and that forced us into a lot of errors," Friend said.
"Ideally we'd prefer to not have to wait until the last minute to win the game.
"We haven't experienced anything like that in preseason or at training, you can't replicate that sort of stuff but we'll be better for having experienced that tonight."
Mortlock didn't want to take sole credit for the win.
"A huge part of what the guys have done in the offseason was all about the little things, character, and it's shown in both performances so far this season," Mortlock said.
"It's a solid foundation ... but we all know there's a lot of things we need to improve on."
Tries -Christian Lealiifano, Mark Gerrard.
Penalties -Mark Gerrard, Stirling Mortlock
Conversions -Stirling Mortlock
Drop Goals -
Tries -Casey Laulala,Ross Filipo
Penalties - Colin Slade,Stephen Brett
Drop Goals -
Venue - Canberra
Time pm -19.40
Referee - B Lawrence (NZ)
Ass Ref. 1 - I Smith (Aus)
Ass Ref. 2 - B Bowden (Aus)
TMO - S Leszcynski (Aus)
1. Nic Henderson 2. Stephen Moore 3. Guy Shepherson 4. Ben Hand 5. Mark Chisholm 6. Julian Salvi 7. George Smith 8. Stephen Hoiles (c) 9. Patrick Phibbs 10. Christian Lealiifano 11. Francis Fainifo 12. Stirling Mortlock 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper 14. Clyde Rathbone 15. Mark Gerrard
Reserves:16. John Ulugia 17. Ben Alexander 18. Sitaleki Timani 19. Peter Kimlin 20. Joshua Holmes 21. Tyrone Smith 22. Matt Toomua 23. Shawn Mackay 24. Mitchell Chapman.
1-15. Wyatt Crockett, Corey Flynn , Ben Franks , Isaac Ross , Ross Filipo , Kieran Read (c) , George Whitelock , Thomas Waldrom , Andy Ellis , Colin Slade , Kade Poki ,Tim Bateman , Casey Laulala , Jared Payne , Stephen Brett