Fly-half Barrett held his nerve with a penalty after the final hooter had sounded to secure Hurricanes a dramatic 25-22 triumph at the end of a see-saw encounter in Wellington.
Highlanders hit back after the interval with tries through Sio Tomkinson, who picked off a pass from Barrett to reach the line, and Liam Coltman, Marty Banks converting both to put his side 22-14 ahead with an hour gone.
Ben Lam’s 71st-minute try levelled the score at 22-22 and while Barrett failed with the conversion attempt from out wide, he was on target to punish Highlanders for an infringement at a ruck as time expired.
Hurricanes lead the way in the overall table but the unbeaten Rebels sit just a point behind them after a thrilling 29-26 win, their third in a row at the start of the season.
Brumbies appeared on course to end their Australian rivals’ unbeaten start when they led 19-3 at the interval, with their opponents having both Adam Coleman and Matt Gibbon yellow carded in the first half.
However, Marika Koroibete’s try straight after the break sparked a stunning comeback. Fellow winger Jack Maddocks also touched down and while Rob Valetini hit back by crossing at the other end, Rebels were the team on top.
Will Genia darted over from close range after taking a quick tap penalty and Maddocks secured victory with his second try of the game, Quade Cooper converting via an upright having set up the game-winning score.
— Melbourne Rebels (@MelbourneRebels) March 8, 2019
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