Hurricanes too strong for Highlanders
Published 15/03/2013 | 11:41
The Hurricanes scored three tries to one to beat the Highlanders 23-19 in a Super Rugby cliffhanger at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
It was the Hurricanes' second consecutive win and the Highlanders' third consecutive loss as they continued their miserable start to the season.
Conrad Smith's try opened the scoring for the visitors, with Ben Franks and TJ Perenara also touching down. Hosea Gear was the Highlanders' only try-scorer and Colin Slade added the extras, along with three penalties.
Berrick Barnes suffered a suspected broken wrist in his first game back from a knee injury as the Waratahs lost to a resurgent Cheetahs outfit 27-26 at Allianz Stadium.
In front of a modest crowd of 12,263, NSW were forced to come from behind from the first minute after Robert Ebersohn scored the opening try after just 54 seconds.
The Cheetahs struck again through Raymond Rhule midway through the half but the Waratahs hit back with two tries of their own to lead 20-17 at the break.
Johan Goosen levelled things up with a penalty goal in the 50th minute but the Waratahs continued to dominate general play and restored their three-point buffer on the hour via the boot of Brendan McKibbin.
Momentum swung back the Cheetahs way thereafter and the visitors reclaimed the lead in the 69th minute when Rhule exploited some tired Waratahs defence and scorched over from close range to bring up his double.
McKibbin's fourth penalty goal of the night cut the deficit to one point with seven minutes remaining on the clock, but the Waratahs blew an opportunity to steal the game in the final minute to record their second straight loss.
A hat-trick of tries from Lelia Masaga inspired the Chiefs to an impressive 35-24 bonus-point victory over the Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.