Hurricanes produce remarkable victory over Blues

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The Hurricanes looked down and out at 14-32, but they punished the Blues for switching off by claiming the win.

The Crusaders, who share the competition lead with the Brumbies, held out the Highlanders before launching a last-quarter assault for a 34-19 win.

In Australia, the Force pulled off a big 28-3 win over the Rebels while the Reds denied the Waratahs 16-20 in Sydney. The Brumbies were too strong for Fiji Drua 42-3 in Canberra.

Highlanders 19 Crusaders 34

Staying in the hunt for three-quarters of the game wasn't enough for the Highlanders as they succumbed in a typical Crusaders' fourth-quarter assault. The champions demonstrated their class by responding every time the Highlanders scored, and when they had the opportunity to seal the outcome, they pounced with effect on the back of mistakes. Fullback Will Jordan demonstrated his try-scoring determination when retaining his balance in the wake of missed tackles to break the back of the home defences. Then, prop Tamaiti Williams powered across after standing off a ruck to score the bonus point try. The Crusaders' had cause for concern with their discipline, conceding penalties that first five-eighths Mitch Hunt four times translated into points.

Highlanders 19 (Sam Gilbert try; Mitch Hunt con, 4 pen) Crusaders 34 (Sevu Reece 2, Will Jordan, Tamaiti Williams tries; Fergus Burke 2 con, 2 pen; Simon Hickey 2 con). HT: 16-17

Blues 32 Hurricanes 33

Leadership doesn't come much better than that loose forward Ardie Savea demonstrated when scoring the last-minute try that broke Blues' hearts to help his Hurricanes to a 33-32 win in Dunedin. The Blues played at a high tempo for most of the game but lost their way in the final moments, allowing the Hurricanes to come back from 14-32 down with nine minutes to play. Left-wing Salesi Rayas provided the impetus for the recovery when scoring his hat-trick try with a superb dive in at the corner. While Blues recruit at second five-eighth Roger Tuivasa-Sheck made his mark earlier in the game, he couldn't halt Hurricanes' centre, Bailyn Sullivan, in the final move. Taking a well-timed short pass from prop Ben May, Sullivan found Savea on his outside, and the skipper raced down the sideline and behind the posts to achieve a remarkable comeback.

Blues 32 (Kurt Eklund 2, Caleb Clarke, Sam Darry tries; Harry Plummer 3 con, 2 pen) Hurricanes 33 (Salesi Rayasi 3, Wes Goosen, Ardie Savea tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 2 con; Ruben Love 2 con). HT: 27-14

Australian results

Enjoying a wealth of possession in wet conditions, the Waratahs revealed tactical shortcomings to allow the Reds to secure a 20-16 win in Sydney. Despite the conditions, both teams handled the ball efficiently. Waratahs' first five-eighths Ben Donaldson looked to have set up a win with a dropped goal near the end. But the Reds responded, and from a goal-line ruck, replacement lock, Ryan Smith drove over to score for the Reds to claim a win. Adding lustre to coach Brad Thorn's team's effort was achieving it without prop Taniela Tupou who suffered back spasms during the warm-ups, and halfback and captain Tate McDermott for all of the second half.

Waratahs 16 (Will Harris try; Ben Donaldson con, 2 pen, dropped goal) Reds 20 (Jordan Petaia, Ryan Smith tries; James O'Connor 2 con, 2 pen). HT: 10-10

Seven unanswered tries against Fiji Drua shot the Brumbies to a 42-3 win in Canberra and a share of the points table lead. It was an emphatic display by the home team, with the outside backs thriving on the opportunities provided. The Drua managed a strong last quarter, but they couldn't get the ball over the line, although lock Ratu Rotuisolia looked to have scored only to be denied by the TMO. Fullback Tom Banks was in outstanding form, scoring a fine solo try when putting his speed to effect. Early penalties conceded by the Fijians allowed the Brumbies to lead 20-0 after 25 minutes.

Brumbies 42 (Lachlan Lonergan, Tom Banks, Len Ikitau, Tom Wright, Rob Valetini, Jesse Mogg 2 tries; Noah Lolesio 2 con, pen) Fiji Drua 3 (Baden Kerr pen). HT: 20-3

Lack of discipline impacted on the Rebels when suffering a 3-28 loss to the Western Force in Melbourne. Down 3-13 at halftime, the Rebels lost fullback Reece Hodge to the sin-bin two minutes into the second half for a cynical foul, and the Force made them pay as centre Kyle Godwin scored to give the West Australians a 17-point lead they were in no mood to concede. It was a grim battle until a second yellow card four minutes from the end saw Hodge sent off that gave the Force possession that saw replacement wing Byron Ralston secure a bonus point try in the final moments.

Rebels 3 (Matt To'omua pen) Western Force 28 (Byron Ralston, Kyle Godwin, Tim Anstee tries; Ian Prior 2 con, 3 pen). HT: 3-13

Chiefs v Moana Pasifika postponed.


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