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Canes grab seventh win; Highlanders fall

Updated: Apr 14

Staring down their first loss of the Super Rugby Pacific season, the Hurricanes more than answered the bell.

Trailing 23-17 early in the second half, the Hurricanes scored three tries and 19 unanswered points to beat the Chiefs 36-23 at Wellington's Sky Stadium on Saturday night, remaining undefeated with a seventh straight win.

Up 17-13 at the break, the Canes conceded a penalty to Chiefs first-five Damian McKenzie, then a converted try to wing Emoni Narawa in the 50th minute, giving the Chiefs their first lead of the match.

Former All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara scored his second, backing up after a series of off-loads from wings Kini Naholo and Josh Moorby, in the 58th minute, with Brett Cameron's conversion regaining the lead.

Perenara's try brought him level with former teammate Julian Savea, who scored in Moana Pasifika's win over the Queensland Reds on Friday night, atop Super Rugby's all-time try-scoring list.

Naholo extended the lead in the 67th minute, finishing off a move that started with Jordie Barrett's break down the short side, then centre Billy Proctor's off-load from the ground.

Hurricanes Super Rugby Pacific
The Hurricanes have won seven straight to open the Super Rugby Pacific season. PHOTO: SUPER RUGBY

Hooker Asafo Aumua, lurking out on the right wing, provided some clinical finishing out wide as he charged to the corner minutes later to clinch the victory, taking the Hurricanes to 32 points, five clear of the Blues and ACT Brumbies.

Earlier, the Hurricanes jumped out to a 10-0 lead after 18 minutes from a Cameron penalty and Perenara's first try. The No 9 dived over from the back of a ruck after No 8 Brayden Iose went close from a turning 5m scrum.

The Chiefs answered through halfback Cortez Ratima soon after, before Narawa was sin-binned in the 27th minute for being offside at a ruck.

With the Canes scrum shunting the Chiefs backwards, Iose capitalised by charging over for a 17-7 lead, before McKenzie cut the gap to four by halftime with two penalties.

In Round 9, the Hurricanes (7-0-0, 32 points) head to Suva to take on the Fijian Drua (3-0-4, 13 points) on Friday (kick-off 7.05pm NZ Time), while the Chiefs (5-0-3, 23 points) have the bye.

Meanwhile, the Highlanders' top-eight chances took a hit in a 47-31 loss to the Melbourne Rebels at Melbourne's AAMI Park on Saturday night.

Down 12-10, the game got away from the visitors leading into halftime as the Rebels got a penalty try and a second from Darby Lancaster to push ahead 26-10 at the break.

The Highlanders closed within nine points three times in the second half, but each time they conceded a try minutes later.

Halfback Folau Fakatava scored in the 57th minute, reserve hooker Ricky Jackson in the 67th and All Blacks prop Ethan de Groot, coming off the bench, in the 75th.

First-five Carter Gordon scored two second-half tries, along with booting five conversions for 20 points, while Lancaster completed his hat-trick in the 79th minute to seal it.

Next week, the Highlanders (2-0-5, 11 points) are on the road again, in Brisbane against the Reds (3-0-4, 17 points) on Friday (kick-off 9.35pm NZT).

Hurricanes 36 (TJ Perenara 2, Brayden Iose, Kini Naholo, Asafo Aumua tries; Brett Cameron 4 con, pen) Chiefs 23 (Cortez Ratima, Emoni Narawa tries; Damian McKenzie 2 con, 3 pen). HT: 17-13

Melbourne Rebels 47 (Ryan Louwrens, Darby Lancaster 3, Penalty Try, Carter Gordon 2; Carter Gordon 5 con) Highlanders 31 (Sean Withy, Folau Fakatava, Ricky Jackson, Ethan de Groot; Sam Gilbert 4 con, pen). HT:


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