THe Hurricanes kept the Highlanders winless in a tight affair in Dunedin
The Hurricanes won 23 – 19 after the Highlanders led 13 – 12 at half time.
The Hurricanes scored three tries to one and looked the more attacking side throughout the match. Their finishing let them down though, as multiple chances were fluffed in the Highlanders 22m.
Conrad Smith got proceedings off to a good start with an early try, but the boot of Colin Slade kept things close. Slade landed 4 penalties and a conversion as the lead swung both ways during the match. Further tries from Ben Franks and TJ Perenara in the second half, kept the scoreboard ticking for the visitors.
To keep matter interesting, Hosea Gear crossed the line for a well worked try in the first half, ensuring the home side had the lead at half time. Gear showed great form with brilliant runs with ball in hand, always beating a defender and gaining valuable meters.
The Hurricanes will be relieved to have come from the match with a win as they were on the wrong side of the possession stats, even though they spent a lot of time in the opposition 22m. Their finishing will be of concern, but is something that can be worked on, while they dominated in the set pieces.
The Highlanders remain winless this season, but will take heart from the performance, specifically Gear’s form and the return to full fitness of Colin Slade, who played a stellar match. The Highlanders prepare to face the Chiefs for the second time in a month, while the Hurricanes enjoy a bye next weekend.
By Richard Ferguson