Sat, Jun 02, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Highlanders dominate in 30-14 win over Hurricanes


Waisake Naholo yesterday finished off a beautiful team try to ensure the Otago Highlanders kept up their hunt for the Super Rugby playoffs when they beat the spluttering Wellington Hurricanes 30-14 in Dunedin, New Zealand.

The Highlanders leapfrogged the Waikato Chiefs into third in the New Zealand conference and up to 40 points on the table, five behind the second-placed Hurricanes and 10 adrift of the Canterbury Crusaders.

Tyrel Lomax scored his first Super Rugby try, while Tevita Li and Aaron Smith grabbed tries either side of halftime to give the hosts the advantage they needed.

Jeff Toomaga-Allen and Jordie Barrett scored in each half for the visitors, who looked mostly clueless and disjointed on attack in the face of the Highlanders’ swarming scramble defense.

The Highlanders took an 8-7 lead into halftime when Li scored five minutes after the hooter as the hosts kept the ball alive and belied the fact they were playing with 14 men.

All Blacks flanker Liam Squire had been yellow-carded following a farcical review of a scuffle, with Hurricanes winger Julian Savea lucky to avoid similar punishment after appearing to punch Squire.

However, TV replays did not catch whether Savea had landed a clean punch and referee Ben O’Keeffe was unable to take the matter further.

The yellow card for a swinging arm high tackle by Squire also negated what would have been Barrett’s second try, which resulted from the same passage of play, and it appeared to motivate the Highlanders in the second half.

The hosts extended their lead after the break when scrumhalf Smith crossed following a jinking counterattack by fellow All Black Ben Smith.

Toomaga-Allen’s try after a quick line-out throw caught the Highlanders napping to give the visitors the lead, but Lomax’s try against the base of the post after a series of penalties against the Hurricanes put the hosts ahead for good.

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