Barrett kicks Hurricanes to injury-time win

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Lynn McConnell     08 Mar 2019     Getty Images

The Highlanders' forward power, demonstrated at the first scrum of the night, went close to providing the basis for a win but with the scores tied 22-22 and working their way into a possible dropped goal position, they ran into No.8 Ardie Savea's skill over the ball at the breakdown and lost their chance.
The Hurricanes, having got back in touch after being down 14-22 through scrum penalties conceded for collapsing twice ruled against replacement Highlanders prop Daniel Lienert-Brown, kicked to the corner.

They unleashed their own driving ball and then released the ball to their backs. Fullback Chase Tiatia passed to wing Jordie Barrett, doubling around from the blindside, to feed it on to left wing Ben Lam who scored the equaliser, after Beauden Barrett had earlier landed a penalty goal.

It had been Barrett's pass that resulted in a Palesio Tomkinson intercept that saw the centre score a 51st minute try to reclaim a one-point lead, but it was the 59th minute effort, from a powerful Highlanders' lineout maul drive which resulted in a try for hooker Liam Coltman that was potentially the more telling.

The Hurricanes had their own chances and second five-eighths Ngani Laumape was again an unstoppable force, scoring two tries in a game which was also dominated by the tricky, wet conditions.

Halfback Aaron Smith made the most of the Highlanders' first foray into the Hurricanes half, created when wing Tevita Li came off his blindside wing to beat Beauden Barrett's tackle attempt and race into space where he linked with a long pass to fellow wing Richard Buckman.

The Hurricanes were pinned five metres out from their line for a scrum and continuing the scrum advantage they showed from the first scrum, the Highlanders made life uncomfortable for Savea attempting to clear the ball.

To make matters worse Smith had read the play perfectly to tackle Savea, get back on his feet and then as the Highlanders pushed forward in the ruck, Smith picked up the ball and deposited over the line for the first try 10 minutes into the game.

They almost split the Hurricanes again when lock Josh Dickson, who was an outstanding contributor with his ball-in-hand play, made a strong run through a ruck but he was pulled down. Penalties conceded cost the Highlanders and when from a lineout play, a secondary ruck saw Perenara pop a short pass to lock Liam Mitchell. He ploughed through a gap and into vacant space before finding Laumape in support to score.

Wellington's wind made clearing the ball from their own 22m area difficult for the Highlanders in the first half and in the last act it caught up with them. First five-eighths Josh Ioane attempted a clearing kick to the left touch. Beauden Barrett fielded it, ran infield and sent a wide cross kick to open territory and perfectly placed to utilise the chance was Laumape who beat the only defender, Ioane, to secure his second try for the night.

Scorers: Hurricanes 25 (Ngani Laumape 2, Ben Lam tries; Beauden Barrett 2 con, 2 pen) Highlanders 22 (Aaron Smith, Palesio Tomkinson, Liam Coltman tries; Josh Ioane pen; Marty Banks 2 con). HT: 14-8