It was an entertaining start to the encounter, with both sides having a try disallowed in the opening 10 minutes. Aaron Smith and Ngani Laumape’s tries both denied because of interference.
Hurricanes skipper TJ Perenara broke the deadlock in the 27th minute, a sneaky dummy fooling his opposite Aaron Smith as he scored under the posts. Jordie Barrett set up their second try of the half, just before the break. He got through the Highlanders line of defence and threw a brilliant pass out wide to Kobus Van Wyk to score in the right corner. The home side going into the sheds with a 12-0 halftime lead.
The Hurricanes picked up where they left off in the second half, with Devan Flanders unable to be stopped from close range to score seven minutes into the second spell. It took just shy of an hour for the Highlanders to score their first try, but it was a good one between their co-captains. Ash Dixon patiently held the ball at the back of a maul before offloading to Aaron Smith who scored on the right flank.
The Highlanders got close to stealing victory in the dying stages, Mitch Hunt kicking a penalty in the 79th minute, just in time for another kickoff. But they were unable to hold onto the pill and the Hurricanes kicked the ball into touch.
Next week, the Hurricanes host the Blues on Saturday night and the Highlanders travel to Hamilton to take on the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon at FMG Stadium Waikato.
Scorers: Hurricanes 17 (TJ Perenara, Kobus Van Wyk, Devan Flanders tries; Jordie Barrett con) Highlanders 11 (Aaron Smith try; Mitch Hunt 2 pens)