Wellington - Beauden Barrett kicked a last-gasp penalty to give the Hurricanes a 25-22 victory over the Highlanders on Friday, as
try-machine Ngani Laumape maintained his dominant form.
Both sides scored three tries in blustery Wellington weather, with
Laumape crossing twice for the Hurricanes to make it five in two matches
for the All Black centre.
The scores were locked 22-22 at the final siren and the match hinged
on a penalty awarded against Highlanders' lock Jackson Hemopo for hands
in the ruck, which Barrett slotted nervelessly from in front of the
"It was a real ding-dong battle," Hurricanes captain Dane Coles said.
"We were getting bullied for the first 30 minutes and our discipline
"But we showed good character and I'm proud of the boys' ticker to stay with it for 80 minutes."
The Highlanders had the edge over their New Zealand rivals in the
forwards but failed to close out the match after leading 22-14 early in
the second half.
"Obviously the effort was there but we'll have to be a bit better
going up against (defending champions) the Crusaders next week," skipper
Ben Smith said.
The Highlanders made a poor start when Thomas Umaga-Jensen fumbled
the ball at kick off, sparking a period of sustained Hurricanes
But the visitors slowly wrested momentum and Aaron Smith scored after 10 minutes off the back of a dominant Highlanders scrum.
Ngani Laumape, fresh from a hat-trick of tries against Brumbies
last week, hit back with a five pointer set up by a run from Liam
Mitchell and an inch-perfect pass from TJ Perenara.
He powered over for a second to put the Hurricanes up 14-8 at
half-time, collecting Barrett's cross-field kick then evading three
defenders to cross the tryline.
Barrett gifted an intercept to Sio Tomkinson with a loose pass after the restart, putting the Highlanders up 15-14.
They extended the lead with a Liam Coltman try from a lineout drive
only for Ben Lam to lock up the scores 22-22 when he found space out
wide and crossed in the corner.
Barrett was unable to kick the conversion from the sideline but made amends with his match-winning penalty.
Hurricanes 22 (14)
Tries: Ngani Laumape (2), Ben Lam
Conversions: Beauden Barrett (2)
Penalty: Beauden Barrett
Highlanders 22 (8)
Tries: Aaron Smith, Sio Tomkinson, Liam Coltman'
Conversions: Marty Banks (2)
Penalty: Josh Ioane
15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara; 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Liam Mitchell, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Chris Eves
Substitutes: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ben May, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Vince Aso
15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Sio Tomkinson, 12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (co-captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Jackson Hemopo, 5 Pari Pari Parkinson, 4 Josh Dickson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Waisake Naholo