Hurricanes remain top of the heap

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The Hurricanes are five points clear of the Blues and Brumbies, both having byes this weekend, and they head to Fiji to play the Drua at the weekend.

The Rebels moved to fourth place on the ladder with their 47-31 win over the Highlanders, powered by a hat-trick of tries to win Darby Lancaster.

Moana Pasifika beat the Reds in Whangārei to move into the top eight.

The Crusaders suffered a golden point loss 40-43 to the Waratahs in Sydney.

Statistics Watch

Most tries: Corey Toole (Brumbies), Cortez Ratima (Chiefs) 7

Most carries: Seru Uru (Reds) 91, Harry Wilson (Reds) 87, Mark Tele'a (Blues, Peter Lakai (Hurricanes) 80

Clean breaks: Josh Moorby (Hurricanes), Chase Tiatia (Force) 12, Toole 11.

Defenders beaten: Iosefo Masi )Drua), Selestino Ravutaumada (Drua) 30, Tela'a , Andrew Kelleway (Rebels) 29

Lineouts won: Josh Canham (Rebels) 34, Nick Frost (Brumbies) 32, Liam Wright (Reds) 31

Metres gained: Caleb Clarke (Blues) 558, Shaun Stevenson (Chiefs) 540, Tom Wright (Brumbies), Jacob Ratumataivuki-Kneepkens (Highlanders) 522

Offloads: Harry Wilson (Reds) 11, Tele'a, Tom Wright (Brumbies), Damian McKenzie (Chiefs), Billy Proctor (Hurricanes) 10

Most points: McKenzie 95, Tane Edmed (Waratahs) 77, Carter Gordon (Rebels) 73

Most tackles: Tom Christie (Crusaders) 144, Billy Harmon (Highlanders), Carlo Tizzano (Force) 109.

Moana Pasifika 17 Reds 14

Strong running from Moana Pasifika dominated the first half against the Reds in Whangārei, with wing Viliami Fine and halfback Ereatara Enari leading the way. In the 32nd minute, first five-eighths William Havili drew the Reds defenders long enough to create an opening for second five-eighths Julian Savea, Super Rugby's highest try scorer, to cross to give his side a 10-0 lead at the break.

A halftime rev-up worked for the Reds when they attacked through their pack at the start of the second half, with prop Peni Ravai opening their scoring with a try. They looked to have claimed the lead when Jesse Floot ran into a kick in-goal, but a TMO look showed halfback Tate McDermott used a swinging arm to a head in a tackle and was sin-binned under review, which became a red card. Outstanding Reds ball control into the final 10 minutes saw wing Jordan Petaia score in the corner. But a dangerous tackle saw flanker Fraser McReight red-carded after a review with five minutes left. Havili, whose penalty goal attempted rebounded off the posts, only to give the Reds a chance for Petaia's try, had the final say by wriggling out of the defence to get over the line for the winning try, adding the conversion for good measure.

Moana Pasifika 17 (Julian Savea, William Havili tries; Havili 2 con, pen) Reds 14 (Peni Ravai, Jordan Petaia tries; Jock Campbell con; Lawson Creighton con). HT: 10-0

Waratahs 43 Crusaders 40

Crusaders wing Sevu Reece dominated the game's opening in Sydney, gaining the first turnover and being rewarded with a try in the 54th second. While the Waratahs got seven points back after flanker, Lachlan Swinton was worked into a gap to score. There was no containing Reece when he scored his second after a long pass from centre Levi Aumua to earn a share, with Caleb Ralph of the Crusaders try-scoring record of 52 tries in the ninth minute. Reece featured three times, along with flanker Tom Christie, in their third try, scored by second five-eighths Dallas McLeod in the 23rd minute. A lineout move close to the line saw lock Ned Hanigan help secure a 23-22 halftime lead.

But the Waratahs came home strong, regaining the lead through wing Dylan Pietsch, who crashed through the defence on the edge of the final quarter. Replacement halfback Mitch Drummond dived over on the blindside of a goal-line ruck. The lead changed again when hooker Julian Heaven ran a lovely line to go over in the tackle. Then, replacement No8 Christian Lio-Willie scored with a minute to go, and Rivez Reihana added the conversion just before the final hooter sounded, which was the time that gave the Waratahs a restart. The Crusaders failed to secure the ball, and when the Waratahs ran it, wing Johnny McNicholl was ruled to have played at a pass. He was sin-binned, and home replacement goal-kicker Will Harrison landed a penalty goal to take the game to the golden point. The Crusaders botched a lineout that allowed the Waratahs to secure possession and gain position for Harrison to kick a left-footed dropped goal to claim the win.

Waratahs 43 (Lachlan Swinton, Ned Hanigan, Dylan Pietsch, Julian Heaven tries; Tane Edmed 2 con, 3 pen; Will Harrison 2 con, pen, dropped goal) Crusaders 40 (Sevu Reece 2, Dallas McLeod, Mitch Drummond, Christian Lio-Willie tries; Riley Hohepa 2 con, 2 pen; Rivez Reihana con, pen). HT: 23-22

Hurricanes 36 Chiefs 23

Power Hurricanes scrummaging made life uncomfortable for the Chiefs through the first quarter, and after a string of five-metre scrums halfback TJ Perenara secured the opening try. The Chiefs responded after a midfield break by second five-eighths Rameka Pohipi. Support play from halfback Cortez Ratima saw him forge ahead, have a pass-out rebound off a Hurricanes player and come back to him to run in a try. After a try to Asafo Aumua was disallowed, and the Chiefs lost fullback Shaun Stevenson to injury and wing Emoni Narawa to the sin-bin, another scrum saw No.8 Brayden Iose drive over from five metres out. More combative after halftime, the Chiefs claimed the lead when Narawa scored. The Hurricanes responded after industrious centre Billy Proctor tidied in midfield to set wing Kini Naholo down the sideline, in-passing to Josh Moorby, who then found Perenara in support to score his 62nd Super Rugby try. Trademark Hurricanes' continuity saw the Chiefs defence stretched, and it was Naholo who scored to cap off good work by second five-eighths Jordie Barrett, hooker Aumua and flanker Du'Plessis Kirifi. Then Aumua finally got his reward for an outstanding game when he ran the right flank to take a ball from Barrett to score.

The Hurricanes came out in front in all the statistical categories that counted, most notably beating 31 defenders to 15 and making seven clean breaks to three to gain 486 metres to 320. They moved the ball more often and, while conceding 18 turnovers to 10, put in 141 tackles to 118.

Hurricanes 36 (TJ Perenara 2, Brayden Iose, Kini Naholo, Asafo Aumua tries; Brett Cameron 4 con, pen) Chiefs 23 (Cortez Ratima, Emoni Narawa tries; Damian McKenzie 2 con, 3 pen). HT: 17-13

Rebels 47 Highlanders 31

Attacking from the kick-off, the home team stretched the Highlanders' defence, and it was halfback Ryan Louwrens who dived over unchallenged from a goal line ruck to score. Having lost centre Jonah Lowe, the Highlanders responded in the 10th minute with flanker Sean Withy scoring from a goal-line ruck. Wing and former Sevens player Darby Lancaster was put into space on the flank and kicked to the in-goal to win the race to score. A penalty try after fullback Jacob Ratumataivuki-Kneepkens knocked down a pass to an unmarked player saw him sin-binned and the Reds to a 19-10 lead. Lancaster scored again when tackled short of the line, quickly replayed the ball and leant over for his second. The Highlanders scored three tries to halfback Folau Fakatava, prop Ethan de Groot and replacement hooker Ricky Jackson in the last 24 minutes, but the Rebels saw Lancaster score his third off a dropped ball intercept, and first five-eighths Carter Gordon scored two, the first after catching the Highlanders off their guard, at a tap penalty five metres from their line.

The Highlanders had a slight edge in possession, 51-49, but were forced to make fewer tackles, 113-142, and won six turnovers to four. They conceded only eight penalties to 14. But the Rebels managed 12 offloads to two and eight clean breaks to three, which was enough for them to secure their winning advantage.

Rebels 47 (Darby Lancaster 3, Carter Gordon 2, Ryan Louwrens tries; penalty try; Gordon 5 con) Highlanders 31 (Sean Withy, Folau Fakatava, Ricky Jackson, Ethan de Groot tries; Sam Gilbert 4 con, pen). HT:26-10


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