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Hurricanes scrape past resilient Reds

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The Hurricanes edged past a spirited Reds 38-34 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington and continue their longstanding winning streak.

The victory means the Canes stretch their unbeaten run to 10 matches and 20th in 21 games on home soil.

It was business as usual for the home team, who also made it 10 wins on the bounce at the Cake Tin against the Reds.

The Hurricanes win makes it 40 without defeat for New Zealand sides against their trans-Tasman rivals dating back to May 2016. Ouch.

In truth, they never got out of second gear and never looked like losing, despite what the scoreline suggests.

Ben Lam grabbed a brace, although, he should have had a hat-trick were it not for some sloppy finishing.

Beauden Barrett and Jono Lance were both immaculate from the kicking tee, both kicking six from six in a tight and fiercely fought contest.

Hurricanes dominate opening quarter.

It was all Hurricanes in the early exchanges.

Lance kicked the Reds in front with a third-minute penalty but the home team struck twice inside a quarter of an hour.

Peter Umaga-Jensen was held-up over the in-goal area after a five-metre scrum to the right of the posts.

From the very next scrum, TJ Perenara played Beauden Barrett to the left and the standoff crashed over for his 30th Super Rugby try. Easy as you like.

Lance kicked another penalty after Jeff Toomaga-Allen is caught for not releasing.

The hosts looked like scoring with every attack and duly did.

Toomaga-Allen put Lousi away through a huge hole to set up a barrage on the Australian’s line.

The Hurricanes went 15 phases inside the Queensland 22 before Lam crossed after a show-and-go, holding the ball in one hand and taking on two defenders.

The visitors could not keep out their hosts, whose patience is expert.

With the Reds were dealing in threes and the Canes in sevens, it looked likely to be another long day at the office for the visitors.

Slick Reds fight back.

The Reds, after last week’s humiliating thrashing at the hands of the Sunwolves in Tokyo, kept pace with the Hurricanes, never letting them out of sight.

They started to use their big ball carriers to get over the gain-line, and it worked.

The opposition was back-peddling and struggling to stop the runners.

George Smith broke off a collapsed scrum but was tackled short. Two phases later, Taniela Tupou picked up from close range and carried three defenders over the whitewash with him.

Lance’s conversion made it a one-point ball-game.

Then a moment that changed the course of the game.

Hamish Stewart saved the day with a try-saving tackle on Lam.

The winger only had to dot the ball down or slide over the goal-line and he would have had his second.

Lam was nonchalant with his finish and lost the try-scoring opportunity when he knocked on over the try-line.

The Reds immediately turned the mistake into points of their own.

From a lineout near halfway, Samu Kerevi burst through a gap and sent Filipo Daugunu away.

The Fijian flyer raced away from Perenara and Lam to give his side the lead.

Ten-point swing before the break undid the good work by Queensland.

The game turned again before halftime when the Hurricanes scored 10 points in four minutes to take a slender lead into the shed.

The Hurricanes went left and right, offloading and sucking in defenders before Jordie Barrett combined with Nehe Milner-Skudder, who put Blade Thomson away.

The No 8 made a beeline for the try-line, spinning out of Ben Lucas’ tackle and was in for the score.

Beauden Barrett added a penalty with the last play of the half.

Hurricanes come out flying.

Chris Boyd’s men came out strong. Milner-Skudder and Perenara went close.

Matt Proctor looked to have scored but Jordan Petaia made the first tackle and Izack Rodda helped him hold the centre up.

The valiant Reds defending finally broke.

The Hurricanes sucked in defenders and then shifted the ball wide.

Lam gathered near the sideline, stood Daugunu up with a shimmy before rounding the winger.

Lam used two hands this time for his 14th try of the season.

Somehow the Queenslanders, who had withstood everything thrown at them, conjured up some of magic of their own.

It came from an unlikely source in the form of tighthead Tupou.

The prop took the ball at halfway, handed off Milner-Skudder, beat Perenara’s cover tackle and drew Jordie Barrett before putting Petaia away.

It was sensational try, something out of the Sekope Kepu and Richard Bands’ highlights reel.

Lance’s conversion reduced the deficit to four with 25 minutes to play.

Clinical Canes.

Jordie Barrett and Ardie Savea went close as the home team looked to bury their opponents.

The Reds had two opportunities to exit, but they keep turning the ball over.

With the Hurricanes enjoying 74 percent territory and 63 percent possession, the dam wall finally burst.

Lousi took Chris Eves’ short pass and ghosted through the Reds’ defence to score his second try in two weeks.

The Hurricanes went 12 phases, wearing the opposition down before striking the killer blow, a blow the Reds could not, and would not come back from.

Kerevi finished off a wonderful series of plays to score near the poles, but it was only good for a losing bonus-point and regained pride.

Hurricanes versus Reds video highlights.

Final score: Hurricanes 38 (24) Reds 34 (20)

Scorers

Hurricanes
Tries – B. Barrett, Lam (2), Thomson, Lousi
Pen – B. Barrett
Con – B. Barrett (5)
Drop –
Cards –

Reds
Tries – Tupou, Daugunu, Petaia, Kerevi
Pen – Lance (2)
Con – Lance (4)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: James Doleman
Assistant Ref 2: Richard Kelly
TMO: Glenn Newman

Teams

Hurricanes

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara (captain), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.

Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Murray Douglas, 20 Brad Shields, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Julian Savea.

Reds

15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 George Smith, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Jean-Pierre Smith.

Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Izaia Perese, 23 Aidan Toua.

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