Hurricanes move to top after edging out Highlanders 25-22

Beauden Barrett kicked the decisive penalty goal for Hurricanes
Beauden Barrett kicked the decisive penalty goal for Hurricanes

Hurricanes 25-22 Highlanders, Westpac Stadium

Hurricanes have climbed to the top position in the New Zealand Conference as they edged out Highlanders 25-22 in their Super Rugby encounter at Westpac Stadium on Friday.

Hurricanes now have 13 points from four games while Highlanders hold the third place after managing 10 points.

Highlanders had a promising start when Aaron Smith dotted down following a scrum in the 11th minute for an unconverted try before Hurricanes responded close to the 30th minute when Ngani Laumape with brisk space raced for their opening try.

A conversion from Beauden Barrett gave the home side lead but it was short lived as Josh Ioane kicked a 32nd minute penalty goal. The Hurricanes though doubled their tally at half-time mark with a second from Laumape as he gathered a kick from Barrett with the home side finishing the first half with a 14-8 lead.

Highlanders were outstanding in the second half with back to back tries from Sio Tomkinson and Liam Coltman in the 51st and 60th minute followed by double conversion from Marty Banks taking the scoreline to 14-22. A 64th minute penalty goal from Beauden reduced the arrears to five points before Jordie set Ben Lam for their third try in the 71st minute making it 22-22.

As the game was heading for a tie, Highlanders allowed Hurricanes to steal a 25-22 when they conceded a penalty goal in the added minutes that was accepted gracefully by Beauden.

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