Highlanders hold off the Hurricanes


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The Highlanders kept their Super Rugby play off hopes alive after they beat the Hurricanes 13-6 at Invercargill for their 8th victory of the season.

The result is the Hurricanes 8th loss of the season and keeps them at the bottom of the New Zealand conference.

The match was also Hurricanes half-back Piri Weepu’s first Super Rugby match since last year when he broke his leg.

The Highlanders also beat the Hurricanes in the opening match of this season.

Bad weather prevented the match from being a free flowing affair and the difference proved to be a try by Highlanders full back Ben Smith in the first half.

Fullback Ben Smith pressed his claim for inclusion in New Zealand’s World Cup
squad with his try.

Tryscorer Smith was an All Black in 2009, playing two tests, and a member of
New Zealand’s gold medal-winning Commonwealth Games sevens team but has seen
his international career recently impeded by injuries.

His form this season, epitomized by his strong game in tricky conditions on
Friday, has almost guaranteed his recall for this year’s World Cup.

Smith touched down in the 36th minute as the Highlanders scored 10 points in
four minutes to take a 10-3 lead to halftime.

Young flyhalf Lima Sopoaga missed his first shot at goal then landed a conversion
and two penalties from his next three attempts.

Flyhalf Aaron Cruden kicked a second-minute penalty which gave the Hurricanes
a lead that lasted for 34 minutes, until Smith’s game-breaking try.

He added another in the ninth minute of the second half but the Hurricanes
were unable to close on the Highlanders in wet and slippery conditions.

The Highlanders’ win followed consecutive losses to the Blues and Chiefs and
was their eighth from 12 matches this season.

The Hurricanes lost for the eighth time in 12 games making this their worst-ever
season and leaves them in 11th place at the start of the tournament’s 13th round.

Final Score Highlanders’13 Hurricanes’6


Tries – B Smith
Pen – L Sopoaga 2
Con – L Sopoaga
Drop –
Cards –

Tries –
Pen – A Cruden 2
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Keith Brown (New Zealand)
Television match official: Kane McBride (New Zealand)


Highlanders :1 .Jamie Mackintosh (C), 2. Mo Schwalger,3. Chris King, 4 . Tom Donnelly, 5. Josh Bekhuis, 6.Jarrad Hoeata, 7 . Alando Soakai, 8 .Nasi Manu, 9 . Jimmy Cowan (VC), 10 .Lima Sopoaga, 11 . Telusa Veainu, 12 . Matt Saunders, 13.Kendrick Lynn, 14 . Kade Poki, 15 . Ben Smith

Replacements: 16. Jason Rutledge, 17. Bronson Murray, 18. John Hardie, 19. Nick Crosswell, 20. Aaron Smith, 21. Ben Atiga, 22. Robbie Robinson/Tony Brown

Hurricanes :1. John Schwalger ,2. Andrew Hore (c) ,3. Neemia Tialata ,4. Jason Eaton ,5. James Broadhurst ,6. Faifili Levave ,7. Jack Lam ,8. Victor Vito ,9. Chris Eaton ,10. Aaron Cruden ,11. Hosea Gear ,12. Ma’a Nonu ,13. Jayden Hayward ,14. Alapati Leiua,15. Andre Taylor

Reserves :16. Dane Coles ,17. Anthony Perenise,18. Jeremy Thrush ,19. Mark Reddish ,20. Piri Weepu,21. Julian Savea ,22. Beauden Barrett

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