The Hurricanes beat the Reds 29-14 in Wellington but were made to work for the result by a plucky Queensland side.
The victory is the Hurricanes seventh from eleven matches and moves them to 36 points in the New Zealand Conference behind the Crusaders, Chiefs and Highlanders who are all on 37 points.
The victory comes after a difficult week for the Hurricanes after they lost to the Sharks in Durban and then stood down five players for breaking a curfew.
The Hurricanes outscored the Reds by five tries to one with Jason Woodward scoring two and his second in extra time from an intercept while the Wellington side were down to 14 players as Beauden Barrett had been sin-binned for an offside offence.
The loss is the Reds eighth from eleven matches but they showed clear signs of improvement in Wellington.
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Woodward, with two tries, and South African-born Wes Goosen were drafted in to replace All Blacks wings Cory Jane and Julian Savea. Dane Coles and Ngani Laumape also scored for the Hurricanes while Chris Feauai-Sautia crossed for the Reds.
Beauden Barrett, in an off night with the boot, only landed two conversions while the Reds points came from a try to Chris Feauai-Sautia and three penalties by Ayumu Goromaru.
With a third of the ‘Canes expected run-on side axed because of the misdemeanour, it took the revamped unit most of the first half to settle into the pace of the game.
But once the five replacements hit their straps, scrum-half TJ Perenara said they laid the groundwork for the win.
“Wes Goosen out on the wing opened us up with a try and his impact out there was awesome,” Perenara said.
“Woodie stepping up for us and the boys in the forward pack they really gave us the impact we needed.”
Victor Vito and Ardie Savea were among the infamous five and their absence was initially telling at the breakdown where the Reds had command.
But when the Hurricanes settled into their work they scored tries on either side of the half-time break and defended their lead for the remainder of the match.
After Goromaru, getting a rare start, put the Reds ahead 3-0 with an early penalty the Hurricanes struck back with Goosen’s try when he latched on to well-weighted cross kick by Barrett.
But it was a rare foray into Reds territory in the first quarter and the Hurricanes were only spared conceding a try when Reds’ centre Anthony Fainga’a dropped the ball with the line open in front of him.
The Reds were rewarded for their constant pressure with a second penalty by Japanese international Goromaru, before the Hurricanes regained the lead with Coles’ try on half-time.
Reds flanker Hendrik Tui was yellow-carded for pulling down a Hurricanes line-out maul with the ‘Canes immediately repeating the move and at the second attempt Coles was driven over the line.
In a desperate start to the second spell, Goromaru landed a third penalty, Woodward scored for the Hurricanes when he toed a wayward pass by Jake McIntyre over the line and Feauai-Sautia replied with his try for the Reds.
Next week in Round 13 the Reds host the Sunwolves in Brisbane on Saturday and the Hurricanes have a bye.
Final Score Hurricanes 29 (12) Reds 14 (6)
Tries – W.Goosen, D.Coles. J.Woodward 2, N.Laumape
Con – B.Barrett 2
Cards – B.Barrett (80th min yellow)
Pen – A Goromaru 3
Cards – H.Tui (39th min yellow)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 1:Angus Mabey
Assistant Ref 2:Brett Johnson
TMO :Glenn Newman
15 James Marshall,, 14 Jason Woodward, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (vc), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Reggie Goodes
Replacements : Motu Matu’u, Lonu Uhila, Ben May, Mark Abbott, Tony Lamborn, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Ngani Laumape, Willis Halaholo.
1. James Slipper (C), 2. Andrew Ready, 3. Greg Holmes, 4. Ben Matwijow, 5. Rob Simmons, 6. Hendrik Tui, 7. Liam Gill, 8. Curtis Browning, 9. Nick Frisby, 10. Jake McIntyre, 11. Eto Nabuli, 12. Anthony Fainga’a, 13. Campbell Magnay, 14. Chris Feauai-Sautia, 15. Ayumu Goromaru
Replacements : 16. Matt Mafi, 17. Sef Fa’agase, 18. Sam Talakai, 19. Cadeyrn Neville, 20. Michael Gunn, 21. James Tuttle, 22. Duncan Paia’aua, 23. Junior Laloifi