The Wellington Hurricanes kept the Super 14 semi-finals in sight when they comfortably held off the struggling Golden Lions 38-12 yesterday.
The win lifted the Hurricanes from fifth past the Coastal Sharks and into the top four.
The Hurricanes scored three tries in building a 26-7 lead by half-time but they then went off the boil and it was not until the final quarter before they scoring the bonus point.
The omens looked bad for the Lions from the start when Jaco van Schalkwyk’s kick-off did not go 10m, giving the Hurricanes an immediate advantage which was turned into points minutes later with a Willie Ripia penalty.
After kicking a second penalty he set up the first try with a delicate chip kick which bounced into the arms of winger Zac Guildford.
Ripia landed the conversion and a penalty before Andrew Hore scored the Hurricanes second try.
The Lions recovered to score their first try when Willie Wepener was driven across from a lineout close to the line. Ripia was then again in the action when he re-gathered his own chip kick to send Ma’a Nonu over for his first try.
The Lions had the best of the third quarter but desperate Hurricanes defense restricted them to one try by winger Jannie Boshoff.
The Hurricanes eventually recovered their composure in the 64th minute when Nonu joined in a forward drive to score his second try of the match and seventh of the season.
With time running out the Waldrom brothers capped off the scoring, when Thomas Waldrom set up the break which led to his fellow loose-forward brother Scott getting the fifth touchdown
Meanwhile, the Otago Highlanders scored just their second win of the year when they defeated the Central Cheetahs 31-28 in a see-saw contest in Bloemfontein on Friday.
The men from New Zealand were on the scoreboard first through a Mike Delany penalty who collected another three points for his team midway through the period.
It was a deserved lead for the men from Otago, but it would be nearly 20 minutes later before they scored again.
The Cheetahs finally came to life after 28 minutes when JW Jonker dived over in the right corner. The conversion by Conrad Barnard gave them a one-point advantage.
Ten minutes later Duane Vermeulen crossed the line to extend the Cheetahs’ lead. The conversion made it 14-6 to the Cheetahs.
The home team though were rocked just before the interval when replacement back Aaron Bancroft went over in the left corner and minutes after the restart Adam Thomson scored a superb try after a move he’d started deep inside Cheetahs territory after intercepting the ball.
Delany converted to put his side 18-14 up.
He then slotted two penalties to give his team a commanding 24-14 lead before setting up Bancroft for his second try. The conversion ensured a 17-point advantage.
The Cheetahs got back into the contest with 15 minutes remaining with a converted try by Hendro Scholtz and then a fourth try by Rory Duncan. The successful conversion made it a three-point game, but the men from Otago hung on for just their second win of the season.