Western Force have kept their bid for the Super Rugby Pacific playoffs alive with a 27-22 win over the Hurricanes in Perth on Saturday night.
A late try from Byron Ralston gave the hosts the advantage, which they clung to with some resolute defence to move into the eighth and final quarter spot.
The Highlanders now need to - at least - secure a bonus point against the Rebels in Melbourne on Sunday afternoon to reclaim their place in the quarter-finals and book a date with the Blues.
Already locked into fifth place, the second-string Hurricanes lacked the vigor of previous week and produced a scrappy all-round performance littered with some pieces of high quality rugby.
The visitors looked destined for a convincing win early, after stand-out fullback Josh Moorby crossed for two tries to give them a 17-6 lead.
Moments before halftime, Pumas prop Santiago Medrano powered his way over the line to send the Force into the sheds facing a 17-13 deficit.
Hurricanes wing Salesi Rayasi was sinbinned early in the second half for an intentional knock-on and the force cashed in on their man advantage, with hooker Andrew Ready crashing over off the back of a rolling maul.
But that lead was shortlived, as Moorby laid a pinpoint cut-out pass on for Rayasi to give the Hurricanes a two-point lead with just under a quarter to play.
The Force then found the try they needed in the 74th minute to clinch victory and ensure a high-stakes final round-robin game in Victoria.
Western Force 27 (Santiago Medrano try 39min, Andrew Ready try 45min, Byron Ralston try 74min; Ian Prior 2 pen, 2 con; Michael McDonald con), Hurricanes 22 (Josh Moorby 2 tries 21min, 27min, Brayden Iose try 35min, Salesi Rayasi try 58min; Aidan Morgan con)
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