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Hurricanes earn back to back wins over Highlanders

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 18: Matt Proctor of the Hurricanes tackles Luke Whitelock of the Highlanders during the round four Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders at Westpac Stadium on March 18, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes earned back to back victories over the Highlanders with a 41-15 bonus point win at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Matches between the sides have been close affairs in recent times as nine of the last ten matches between the Hurricanes and Highlanders had been decided by less than 7 points.

The Hurricanes outscored the Highlanders by seven tries to two in the match which opened up in the second as there was only a two point difference at the break.

The Hurricanes are the first side to break the 200 points scored barrier this season.

The Hurricanes do however remain in third place behind the Crusaders in the New Zealand Conference after three wins from four matches.

The Highlanders have also played four matches but have just one victory over the Blues so far this season. The Highlanders are last in the New Zealand Conference.

The Hurricanes scored the opening try of the match through a maul in the 11th minute as Ardie Savea was driven over the line in a maul

Fellow 2015 finalists the Highlanders made the slower start and it took them another 15 minutes to get on the scoreboard which they did with Fletcher Smith penalty in the 25th minute.

The Highlanders then took the lead seven minutes later when Matt Faddes received and inside ball from Aaron Smith and sliced through to score his team’s opening try.

The visiting side didn’t lead the scoreboard for long though as the Hurricanes hit back five minutes later with a cross kick/pass from Jordie Barrett which saw Ngani Laumape score in the corner.

Aaron Smith almost scored before half time which would have put the Highlanders back into the lead but he knocked on in the tackle as he crossed the line so the half ended with the Hurricanes leading 10-8.

The Hurricanes immediately made a statement in the second half with Beauden Barrett kicked across field for his brother Jordie Barrett who slipped a pass behind him to Matt Proctor who scored.

Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on Fletcher Smith and the Highlanders immediately used their numbers advantage by stretching the home side’s defence which allowed Elliot Dixon to score his team’s second try.

Marty Banks converted the try in the 46th minute but that was the last time the Highlanders added points.

The Hurricanes went furher ahead when Ngani Laumape steamrollered All Black fullback Ben Smith to score the first of his two tries.

Although the Highlanders remained competitive the Hurricanes added tries from Julian Savea, a second from Laumape and two from Vince Aso.

Next week in Round 5 the Highlanders fly to Canberra to play the Brumbies while the Hurricanes have a bye before they take on the Reds in Brisbane in Round six.

Final score Hurricanes 41 (10) Highlanders 15 (8)

Scorers

Hurricanes
Tries – A.Savea, N.Laumape 2, M.Proctor, J.Savea, V Aso 2
Pen –
Con – B.Barett, J.Barrett 2
Drop –
Cards – TJ Perenara (43rd min yellow)

Highlanders
Tries – M.Faddes, E.Dixon
Pen – F.Smith
Con – M.Banks
Drop –
Cards – T.Li (78th min yellow)

Match Officials
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1:Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Richard Kelly
TMO : Shane McDermott

Teams

Hurricanes

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Vince Aso , 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (vc), 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeffery To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Chris Eves

Replacements : Ricky Riccitelli, Ben May, Mike Kainga, Sam Lousi, Reed Prinsep, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Otere Black, Wes Goosen.

Highlanders

Daniel Lienert-Brown , Liam Coltman , Siate Tokolahi , Joe Wheeler , Tom Franklin , Elliot Dixon , Dillon Hunt , Luke Whitelock , Aaron Smith , Fletcher Smith , Tevita Li , Rob Thompson , Malakai Fekitoa , Richard Buckman , Ben Smith ( c )

Replacements : Sekonia Pole , Aki Seiuli , Guy Millar , Jackson Hemopo , Gareth Evans , Kayne Hammington , Marty Banks , Matt Faddes