Super Rugby Aotearoa continues with two more matches on Sky Sports Action next week-end. Watch Hurricanes vs Blues on Saturday (7.30am) and Chiefs vs Highlanders on Sunday (4am).
By Sky Sports Rugby Union
Last Updated: 12/07/20 10:53am
TJ Perenara and Devan Flanders crossed for tries as the Hurricanes defeated the Highlanders 17-11 in Sunday’s Super Rugby Aotearoa clash in Wellington.
The Hurricanes light emitting diode 12-0 after having a strong first half which set up their win and though they had 70 per cent of possession following the break, these were outscored by the Highlanders.
The match featured an outstanding contest between the All Blacks scrum-halves Aaron Smith and Perenara who both scored tries.
Live Super Rugby
July 18, 2020, 7:30am
Highlanders No 9 Smith had the early upper hand, harassing Perenara across the fringes of rucks and mauls and making a few threatening breaks.
But Perenara struck a major blow when that he sold Smith a dummy in the 28th minute, sent him wide then cut through the resulting inside gap to score the Hurricanes first decide to try.
Smith had his revenge in the 58th minute when, with the Highlanders trailing 17-3, that he broke across the unguarded short side of an attacking maul to score and keep his team in the match.
The first half featured an array of line breaks or half breaks by both teams which kept defences on alert. But an inability to link and to finish kept the score down, also as a result of some strong scrambling defence from both teams.
Both teams had a go disallowed for obstruction within the first six minutes. Smith should have scored after four minutes when he finished a long-range break by fly-half Mitch Hunt. However, the referee ruled out the try for a marginal obstruction by Highlanders captain Ash Dixon.
Two minutes later, Ngani Laumape scored for the Hurricanes but the take to was again chalked off – this time around for an obstruction.
Live Super Rugby
July 19, 2020, 4:00am
Perenara and Smith’s tries came from rare defensive lapses. The Hurricanes also managed a try through flanker Flanders, one of their finest ball-carriers, but had to manage the ball through significantly more than 15 phases to breakdown the Highlanders defence.
Hunt kicked a penalty just before the ultimate siren to cut the cause six points and give the Highlanders a faint potential for a come-from-behind win. But the Hurricanes snatched a Highlanders lineout in stoppage time to end the game.
The Highlanders have now maybe not won simply because they upset the Chiefs in the opening round while Hurricanes caused it to be back-to-back wins.