TODAY |

Hurricanes fend off last minute comeback from Highlanders to clinch victory

In a windy Wellington afternoon, the Hurricanes managed to earn their second win of the season, holding off a late surge from the Highlanders to finish the game 17-11.

The Hurricanes looked to be in control the entire match with the majority of the game spent in attack. The small looks that the Highlanders did get were quickly shut down by a strong defensive showing.

TJ Perenara opened the scoring in the 29th minute, finessing his opposite number and All Blacks team mate, Aaron Smith, by selling a dramatic dummy pass giving himself a clear passage to the line.

Hooker Asafo Aumua made an impact on both the defensive and offensive fronts. Gaining 60 metres from 11 carries, Aumua was frequently seen out wide running the ball in open space. Defensively, Aumua was the star of the Hurricanes highlight reel, not only providing big hits but also making key tackles. 

Kobus Van Wyk yet again reaped the benefits of playing outside Jordie Barrett.

Van Wyk scored the Hurricanes second try after recieving a brilliant lobbed pass from Barrett, giving his side a 12-0 lead going into the second half.

Devan Flanders crashed over the line for the Hurricanes in the opening minutes of the second half, after the Hurricanes put the Highlanders defence under pressure from the opening whistle.

Shortly after, Highlanders first five Mitch Hunt kicked a successful penalty attempt at goal to earn his sides first points of the match.

Aaron Smith scored the Highlanders only try of the match, after the nimble halfback found himself unmarked as Ash Dixon broke off the back of a maul five metres away from the line tossing an easy pass to Smith for the finish. 

Despite the Hurricanes strong showing throughout the match, the Highlanders showed grit in the dying minutes, staging a resurgence, however, it wasn't enough.

With just one minute left, Hunt added another three points to the Highlanders total, bringing them within seven points of the lead.

The Highlanders got the ball back on the restart but couldn't put on a last ditch effort to steal the win.

After the win the Hurricanes now cement their place at third in the standings, now two points ahead of the Highlanders.