Hurricanes pressure too much for Highlanders

Hurricanes hooker Asafo Aumua makes a break as Aaron Smith and Pari Pari Parkinson make a tackle...
Hurricanes hooker Asafo Aumua makes a break as Aaron Smith and Pari Pari Parkinson make a tackle for the Highlanders. Photo: Getty Images
They defended bravely but in the end it was not quite enough.

The Highlanders made 189 tackles, but the Hurricanes emerged 17-11 victors in Wellington today.

Two tries late in the first half were key for the Hurricanes, eventually breaking through after the Highlanders defended stoutly for close to half an hour.

Both teams appeared to go over in the first five minutes.

But both were denied after being called back for obstruction by the TMO - the Highlanders perhaps harshly.

It took until the 28th minute for either team to break the initial deadlock.

Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara dummied at the base of the ruck, before sniping through a gap and scoring under the posts.

Minutes later Jordie Barrett hit a nice short ball and passed wide for Jacobus van Wyk to score in the right corner.

That made it 12-0 at halftime, before Devan Flanders extended that to 17-0 not long after, following a long build up in which the pressure eventually told.

The Highlanders came back from there.

Hunt slotted a penalty, before Aaron Smith went over in the corner after being popped a pass when Ash Dixon peeled off down the blind from a lineout drive.

Hunt's conversion missed though, leaving the Highlanders needing to score twice.

He slotted a penalty in the dying stages, giving the team a bonus point and one last chance to snatch a win, but that proved too much.

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