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Nonu brace helps Canes edge Chiefs


Ma'a Nonu has 50 career Super Rugby tries

Ma'a Nonu has 50 career Super Rugby tries

Ma'a Nonu has 50 career Super Rugby tries

Two tries from Ma'a Nonu helped guide the Hurricanes to a 22-18 victory over the Chiefs and extend their lead at the top of the New Zealand Conference to 13 points.

Nonu's second try was his 50th in Super Rugby and Ardie Savea also went over with James Marshall booting seven points.

Charlie Ngatai and Sam Cane both scored for the Chiefs with Damian McKenzie kicking eight points as the visitors kept it tight but could not prevail.

The Hurricanes had the opening try after nine minutes through Nonu following a decision to kick to touch with a penalty, possibly influenced by the windy conditions.

From the resulting lineout, the ball found its way to Nonu and he beat McKenzie to crash over leaving Marshall with a simple conversion in front of the posts.

A McKenzie penalty reduced the deficit to four just three minutes later but the fly-half should have had a try when he fumbled Brad Weber's pass just five metres short of the line.

McKenzie and Marshall then exchanged penalties before the Chiefs took the lead on the stroke of half-time courtesy of Ngatai.

Bryce Heem and McKenzie combined to release the centre and he touched down with McKenzie adding the extras.

The lead would last just five minutes after the break, though, with Savea crashing over after a strong maul, although Marshall missed the conversion and the lead was only two.

Liam Squire was then sin-binned for a tip-tackle but the Chiefs managed to keep their hosts at bay while they were a man down.

They could not keep out the Hurricanes 15 against 15, though, and Nonu went over for his second with 13 minutes to play, picking up an interception and showing smart hands to hold possession and score.

Marshall kicked the conversion but it was not over and Cane went over following a maul to set up a tense finish.

Augustine Pulu thought he had snatched it at the death for the visitors but his score was chalked off for a knock on and the Hurricanes held on despite some huge late pressure on their line.