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Hurricanes hold off Chiefs with late penalty

The Hurricanes overcame an early red card and held off the Chiefs to go back to the top of the Super Rugby Pacific standings.

Trailing 14-0 at halftime, the Chiefs made a thrilling comeback before a 79th-minute penalty from Brett Cameron lifted the Hurricanes to a 20-17 victory at Hamilton's FMG Stadium Waikato on Friday night.

The Canes lost hooker Raymond Tuputupu to a yellow card for head contact on Chiefs lock Tupou Vaa'i in the eighth minute, which was upgraded to a red card minutes later.

Despite playing a man-down - with No 8 Brayden Iose leaving the field for replacement hooker James O'Reilly - the Hurricanes dominated to lead 14-0 at the break.

Prop Xavier Numia stormed through a gap in the Chiefs defensive line in the 19th minute, charging 35m to score in the tackle of fullback Shaun Stevenson.

After Chiefs flanker Kaylum Boshier was yellow-carded for a cynical act at a ruck and Iose rejoined the fray after 20 minutes and helped the Canes used their own man-advantage, linking with James Moorby to send Jordie Barrett over in the 35th minute.

Jordie Barrett Hurricanes rugby
Jordie Barrett scored one of the Hurricanes' two tries against the Chiefs. PHOTO: SUPER RUGBY

The Chiefs crossed with their first possession of the second half through wing Emoni Narawa and again through Wallace Sititi after the Hurricanes lost wing Kini Naholo to a yellow card, closing within three

Cameron missed a 65th-minute penalty shot, allowing Damian McKenzie to level the game with a three-pointer in the 72nd minute.

A Naholo try was disallowed because of a knock on spotted by the TMO, but the Hurricanes stayed on attack and won the critical late penalty when Chiefs captain Luke Jacobson was ruled to have not rolled away at a ruck.

The win lifted the Canes to the top the table, one point ahead of the Blues, who face the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday. The Chiefs lost their unbeaten record at home this season but took a bonus point and then dropped to fourth after the ACT Brumbies defeated the Melbourne Rebels later on Friday night.

In the final round of the regular season, the Hurricanes (11-0-2, 51 points) are home to the Highlanders next Saturday (kick-off 4.35pm), while the Chiefs (9-0-4, 43 points) face the Blues at Eden Park (kick-off 7.30pm).

Hurricanes 20 (Xavier Numua, Jordie Barrett tries; Brett Cameron 2 con, 2 pen) Chiefs 17 (Emoni Narawa, Wallace Sititi tries; Damian McKenzie 2 con, pen). HT: 14-0


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