Rugby-Hurricanes whip up second-half storm to blow away Highlanders
March 18 (Reuters) - The Hurricanes blew away the Highlanders with a dominant second-half display as the defending Super Rugby champions got back to winning ways with a comprehensive 41-15 victory in Wellington on Saturday.
Both teams went into the contest missing key players through injury but the Hurricanes were simply too powerful and too skilful on the day and ran out easy winners over their tiring opponents after being held to a two-point advantage at halftime.
Ngani Laumape and Vince Aso scored two tries apiece for the home side, with Ardie Savea, Julian Savea and Matt Proctor also touching down for the Hurricanes, who won their third match in four outings following last week's loss to the Chiefs.
Matt Faddes and Elliot Dixon responded with tries for the Hurricanes, who were also guilty of coughing up 13 handling errors as they fell to their third loss in four matches.
"Our discipline was a key factor and I think our defence was outstanding tonight," Hurricanes captain Dane Coles said in a pitchside interview.
"We made sure we got that enjoyment back this week... but we had to work quite hard for it."
The Hurricanes started the brighter and dominated possession, while the Highlanders looked to make the most of their chances with their backline runners on the counter-attack on the few occasions they got their hands on the ball.
The home side were rewarded for their attacking endeavour in the 11th minute when Ardie Savea, playing at number eight, collected the ball from an advanced lineout and touched down at the back of a driving maul.
Beauden Barrett, who was wayward off the kicking tee, missed the conversion and after Fletcher Smith slotted home a long-range penalty for the Highlanders in the 26th minute, the lead was down to two points as the visitors grew into the match. Continued...