The Highlanders finished their Super rugby Aotearoa campaign on a high by brushing aside the Hurricanes 38-21 at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
The Highlanders surged ahead in the second half to take the match away from the visiting Hurricanes after the sides were level on 14 all at half time.
The Hurricanes had three tries denied by the TMO and also lost All Black Ardie Saves to the sin-bin in the second half for a yellow card and being caught offside.
Vince Aso put a foot in touch, Scott Scrafton’s pass to Reed Prinsep was judged to have been forward and Chase Tiatia scored following an obstruction.
The match was played in an empty stadium due to the new Covid-19 restrictions implemented by the New Zealand government.
The Hurricanes made the stronger start and were the first to score in the match after a length-of-the-field team try which finished off with Ardie Savea offloading to Vince Aso to score in the corner. Jordie Barrett curled the conversion in to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.
Highlanders replacement Ngatungane Punivai who had only been on for a couple of minutes opened the home side’s score in the tenth minute and Joah Ioane leveled the scores with the conversion at 7 all.
Shortly before the half an hour mark, the Hurricanes ran the ball from their 22 all the way up the field again with Umaga-Jensen offloading to Jamie Booth near the half way line and he showed his pace and scored under the posts.
Barrett again converted to give the ‘Canes a 7-14 lead.
Hooker Ash Dixon, playing in his 100th Super Rugby game was next to score for the Highlanders and with Ioane’s conversion, the scores were level at half time.
In the second half, the Highlanders added tries from Michael Collins and a penalty try for side entry by Ardie Savea. Mitch Hunt scored the final try for the hosts.
The Hurricanes had a late flurry with and scored their final try which came after Mitch Hunt failed to control the ball behind the tryline which allowed Peter Umaga-Jensen to pounce on the ball and score.
Barett’s conversion finished the scoring and the Super Rugby Aotearoa season.
Final score Highlanders 38 (14) Hurricanes 21 (14)
Tries -Punivai, Dixon, Collins, Penalty try, Hunt
Pen – Ioane
Con – Ioane 3, Hunt
Tries -Aso, Booth, Umaga-Jensen
Con -Barrett 3
Cards – Ardie Savea (55 yellow)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 1:Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2:James Doleman
TMO : Chris Hart
1. Ayden Johnstone 2. Ash Dixon (cc) 3. Siate Tokolahi 4. Pari Pari Parkinson 5. Jack Whetton 6. Shannon Frizell 7. Dillon Hunt 8. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u 9. Aaron Smith (cc) 10. Josh Ioane 11. Jona Nareki 12. Patelesio Tomkinson 13. Michael Collins 14. Josh McKay 15. Mitch Hunt
Replacements: 16. Liam Coltman 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown 18. Jeff Thwaites 19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit 20. Teariki Ben-Nicholas 21. Folau Fakatava 22. Ngatungane Punivai 23. Tom Florence
1 Ben May 2 Dane Coles [C] 3 Tyrel Lomax 4 James Blackwell 5 Scott Scrafton 6 Reed Prinsep 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi 8 Ardie Savea 9 Jamie Booth 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop 11 Wes Goosen 12 Peter Umaga-Jensen 13 Billy Proctor 14 Vince Aso 15 Jordie Barrett
Replacements: 16. Ricky Riccitelli 17. Tevita Mafileo 18. Pouri Rakete-Stones 19. Liam Mitchell 20. Devan Flanders 21. Jonathan Taumateine 22. Salesi Rayasi 23. Chase Tiatia