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Highlanders hit back to blow away Hurricanes

By Rob Lancaster

Trending on RugbyPass

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The Highlanders ended a three-match losing run against the Hurricanes with a 30-14 triumph at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday.


Jeff Toomaga-Allen’s 50th-minute try – converted by Beauden Barrett – put the visitors 14-13 ahead, only for the Highlanders to hit back with 17 unanswered points in the closing quarter of the contest.

Tyrel Lomax and Waisake Naholo both touched down to send the Highlanders into the international break on a winning note.

They also remain unbeaten at their Dunedin fortress this season, despite struggling in the opening half and seeing back-rower Liam Squire sent to the sin bin in the 38th minute.

After Lima Sopoaga kicked the hosts ahead with an early penalty, the Hurricanes hit the front thanks to a converted score from Jordie Barrett.

However, Squire’s yellow card for a high tackle seemed to wake up the snoozing Highlanders, who scored tries through Tevita Li and Aaron Smith either side of half-time while temporarily down to 14 men.

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They fell behind again when a turnover allowed Toomaga-Allen to cross, yet the Hurricanes struggled for attacking momentum as they slipped to back-to-back Super Rugby defeats on the road.

Prop Lomax plunged over by the posts to reclaim the lead before a stunning move involving both backs and forwards created space out wide for wing Naholo to sprint in at the corner.

Sopoaga added both conversions, as well as a 73rd-minute penalty, as the Highlanders moved up to third in the New Zealand Conference, 10 points behind the table-topping Crusaders.

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