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Hurricanes made to work for victory over Reds

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01: Reds player Eto Nabuli pushes away from the defence during the Super Rugby round six match between the Reds and the Hurricanes at Suncorp Stadium on April 1, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes were made to work for a 15-34 bonus point victory over the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.

The Hurricanes victory is their fourth consecutive victory over the Queenslanders at all venues and takes the Hurricanes to a record of played five and won four matches.

Despite having more points than any other non-New Zealand team the Hurricanes are still third in the New Zealand Conference.

The Reds have lost their last five matches this season after winning their opening round match against the Sharks.

The Hurricanes outscored the Reds by five tries to two so they take the bonus point from the match but they were tested by the Queenslanders.

Although the scoreline suggests an easy win for the champions the visiting side needed a late surge to pull away and the bonus point only came in the final minutes.

Ultimately it was the Hurricanes second half that won the match for them as they outscored the Reds by twenty points to three after the break.

In front of 17,439 spectators, the defending champions crossed for two early tries but the Reds showed composure to claw their way back into the contest and trail by just two points at half-time.

It was a gruelling second-half for the home side who were forced to defend their own line for sustained periods of time.

The Hurricanes benefitted from the majority of possession in the opening 15 minutes and were rewarded when winger Julian Savea scored in the corner.

Minutes later, scrumhalf TJ Perenara intercepted a McIntyre inside pass to race away for the Hurricanes second try.

Hurricanes’ inside centre Negani Laumape was sent to the sin bin for dangerous play and the Reds had the Hurricanes back peddling before turning down a penalty goal opportunity an opting for a five-metre scrum.

The home side set for a scrum in centre field, Karmichael Hunt took the ball from first receiver, offloaded to Scott Higginbotham who popped the ball over the top for Chris Kuridrani to score.

After stringing phases together, Higginbotham opened up the Hurricanes’ defence with a flick pass to Tupou who dished to Kuridrani. The winger returned the ball to Higginbotham and the Number 8 dotted down under the uprights.

At two tries a piece, the teams went to the half-time break with the Hurricanes leading 14-12.

The visitors were first to score after half time, as winger Vince Aso finished off an Ardie Savea line break.

With the Hurricanes constantly threatening, the Reds’ goal-line defence was resolute to withstand wave after wave of Hurricanes attack.

On numerous occasions the Reds exited their own 22, only for the Hurricanes to turn them around with accurate tactical kicking and strong ball carries.

Jordie Barrett slotted a penalty goal in the 69th minute but McIntyre responded immediately, taking the score to 22-15 with 10 minutes remaining.

Two late tries to Jordie and Beauden Barrett sealed the victory for the Hurricanes.

Next week the Hurricanes have a short turnaround as they host the Waratahs on Friday in Wellington while the Reds play the Brumbies in Canberra.

Final Score Reds 15 (12) Hurricanes 34 (14)

Scorers

Reds
Tries – C Kuridrani, S.Higginbotham
Pen – J.McIntyre
Con – J.McIntyre
Drop –
Cards –

Hurricanes
Tries – J.Savea, TJ.Perenara , V. Aso, J.Barrett, B.Barrett
Pen – J.Barrett
Con – J.Barrett 3
Drop –
Cards – N.Laumape (yellow 23rd min yellow)

Match Officials
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1:Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2:Amy Perrett
TMO : Damien Mitchelmore

Teams

Reds

1. Markus Vanzati , 2. Stephen Moore (C) , 3. Sam Talakai , 4. Rob Simmons, 5. Kane Douglas , 6. Adam Korczyk , 7. George Smith , 8. Scott Higginbotham, 9. James Tuttle, 10. Jake McIntyre, 11. Eto Nabuli, 12. Duncan Paia’aua , 13. Samu Kerevi , 14. Chris Kuridrani , 15. Karmichael Hunt

Replacements : 16. Andrew Ready, 17. Kirwan Sanday, 18. Taniela Tupou , 19. Lukhan Tui, 20. Hendrik Tui , 21. Nick Frisby, 22. Hamish Stewart , 23. Izaia Perese

Hurricanes

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

Replacements : 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ben May, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Pita Ahki