The Hurricanes secured a vital 9-16 Super Rugby victory over the Crusaders at Westpac Stadium in Wellington to keep their play off hopes alive for another week.
The Hurricanes had to win because they only have one remaining match left as they play the Chiefs next weekend and in the final round they have a bye.
The result keeps the Hurricanes in the top six and by virtue of the Crusaders losing bonus point and their superior number of wins the Crusaders took back the top spot from the Highlanders who they will face in the final round.
The Hurricanes opened the scoring in the eigth minute with a Beauden Barrett penalty but then Colin Slade levelled the scores three minutes later.
As the first half continued it became clear that the Crusaders form had suffered from the June Internationals break and the Hurricanes were able to play with more enthusiasm.
Blade Thomson scored the opening try which came after Julian Savea kicked and chased forcing the Crusaders to scramble only to lose the ball and then get stretched out wide.
Beauden Barrett and Julian Savea both showed glimpses of brilliance but the Hurricanes were unable to add more than a second penalty in the first half so they led 11-3 at half time.
While the Crusaders had looked lost in the first half the came out for the second half a different side and after two penalties Slade had closed the gap on the scoreboard to 11-9 after eighteen minutes of the second half.
Slade suffered a heavy blow in a tackle but stayed on to kick his third penalty before going off for a concussion test which brough Dan Carter on for the first time this season.
In the final quarter with the Crusaders pressing hard the Hurricanes defence frustrated the seven time champions to the extent that Dan Carter attempted a drop goal but missed.
With pressure continuing to mount from the Crusaders All Black winger Cory Jane kicked behind the Crusaders backs and first half tryscorer Blade Thompson chased the ball, gathered it and raced away to score his second try of the contest.
Barrett missed the conversion which meant the Crusaders could have drawn the match with a converted try but the Hurricanes defence held them out and they managed to wind down the clock.
The Crusaders return home to Christchurch where they will face the Blues next weekend while the Hurricanes go to Hamilton to face the Chiefs.
Final Score Hurricanes 16 (11) Crusaders 9 (3)
Tries - B.Thomson 2
Pen - B.Barrett 2
Pen - C.Slade 3
Cards - M.Todd (yellow 7th min)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Richard Kelly
TMO: Aaron Paterson
1. Ben Franks,2. Dane Coles,3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen,4. Jeremy Thrush (c),5. Blade Thomson,6. Brad Shields,7. Ardie Savea,8. Victor Vito,9. TJ Perenara,10. Beauden Barrett,11. Julian Savea,12. Alapati Leiua,13. Tim Bateman,14. Cory Jane,15. Matt Proctor
Replacements : 16. Motu Matu’u/Reggie Goodes,17. Chris Eves,18. Reggie Goodes/Brendon Edmonds,19. James Broadhurst,20. Jack Lam,21. Chris Smylie,22. Hadleigh Parkes,23. James Marshall
1. Wyatt Crockett ,2. Corey Flynn ,3. Nepo Laulala ,4. Dominic Bird ,5. Samuel Whitelock ,6. Jordan Taufua ,7. Matt Todd ,8. Luke Whitelock ,9. Andy Ellis ,10.Colin Slade ,11.Nafi Tuitavake ,12.Ryan Crotty (C) ,13.Kieron Fonotia ,14.Johnny McNicholl ,15.Tom Taylor
Replacements : 16. Ben Funnell ,17. Joe Moody, 18. Owen Franks ,19. Jimmy Tupou,20. Kieran Read ,21. Willi Heinz ,22. Dan Carter ,23. Rob Thompson