Despite being down 7-17 at one stage and behind by two going into halftime, the Hurricanes have overcome the visiting Highlanders and scored a big win in Wellington, triumphing 41-22.
It marked just the second win of the competition for the Hurricanes – and their second over the Highlanders, who managed one victory over each of the other four teams.
A win for the visitors could have propelled them temporarily to third on the table but that was the only thing on the line for either side.
Playing only for pride, the Hurricanes ran in six tries through Dane Coles, centre Ngani Laumape, winger Salesi Rayasi and flankers Devan Flanders, Du’Plessis Kirifi and Brayden Lose.
Lock Josh Dickson, winger Jona Nareki and hooker Ash Dixon crossed for the Highlanders, who despite their early lead, were unable to contain the free-running Hurricanes after the break.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 30, 2021
Hurricanes skipper Coles had an eventful evening, at the centre of a considerable number of niggly incidents and yellow carded alongside Highlanders flyhalf Mitch Hunt for a first-half shoving match.
“We haven’t had a great year and it was good to show we could do it,” the All Blacks hooker said.
“We didn’t put up the white flag, we kept fighting and we got the win tonight.”
The bonus point victory was a positive way for the Hurricanes to cap off a somewhat disappointing Aotearoa season but it won’t affect the final standings.
The Highlanders finished fourth in the five-team competition with three wins from eight matches.
The Crusaders will host the Chiefs in the final on May 8.
Hurricanes 41 (Dane Coles, Devan Flanders, Brayden Iose, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Ngani Laumape, Salesi Rayasi tries; Jordie Barrett 4 cons, pen)
Highlanders 22 (Josh Dickson, Ash Dixon, Jona Nareki tries; Sam Gilbert, Mitch Hunt cons, Hunt pen)
– with Reuters
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