Wellington - The Hurricanes continued their perfect start to the Super Rugby campaign by picking up their seventh straight win after holding off the sizeable Stormers 25-20 on Friday.
As it happened:Hurricanes v Stormers
All Black inside centre Ma'a Nonu made his 150th Super Rugby appearance but he shared the plaudits with the impressive Hurricanes fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder, who scored the opening try and set up the second for Julian Savea.
The Hurricanes appeared to be running away with the contest after Beauden Barrett completed a brilliant length-of-the-field move for their third try and a 25-3 lead but the Stormers fought back after the break and were rewarded with a losing bonus point.
That fightback looked a long way off in a ragged first period when Milner-Skudder scored after a lengthy television review eventually deemed he juggled the ball successfully over the line despite opposite number Cheslin Kolbe also getting his hands on it.
Another side-stepping run by the fullback ended with a one handed pass to Savea, who crossed for the second, before flyhalf Barrett's eye-catching score which came after the hosts turned over Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen close to their own line.
They shifted the ball quickly to their backs, who exploited the Stormers’ slapdash defence with Nonu, Cory Jane and Brad Shields all recycling the ball before Barrett touched down.
However, the Capetonians were a different side in the second half. They showed their physical advantage with a powerful scrum which the hosts illegally brought down to concede a penalty try as they finally made their size count.
They added a second try on the hour mark after 15 phases of hard running at the heart of the Hurricanes defence led to centre Huw Jones touching down in the corner to cut the deficit to 25-17.
Greater accuracy might have resulted in another try but they had to make do with a 74th minute penalty from replacement Kurt Coleman, which at least ensured a losing bonus point in their third defeat of the campaign.
Tries: Nehe Milner-Skudder, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett
Conversions: Barrett (2)
Penalty: Barrett (2)
Tries: Penalty try, Huw Jones
Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (2)
Penalties: Catrakilis, Kurt Coleman
15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Reggie Goodes
Substitutes: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Ben May, 18 Chris Eves, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Adam Hill, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 James Marshall
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7. Schalk Burger, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Manuel Carizza, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Vincent Koch, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Frans Malherbe, 19. Ruan Botha, 20. Michael Rhodes, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Kurt Coleman, 23. Johhny Kotze