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Hurricanes beat Highlanders in a controversial but thrilling super rugby derby

Referees Angus Mabey and Paul Williams look at the big screen (Getty)

It went right to the end of the game, but the Hurricanes held off the Highlanders in a 22-21 Super Rugby Pacific win at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

However, the Dunedin crowd was booed after the final whistle when the TMO and referee ruled against a home try that would have given the Highlanders victory.

Instead, it was decided that Saula Ma’u had been held up after falling over the line under a tough challenge from Jordie Barrett and Asafo Aumua.

The decision on the pitch decided that there was no clear basis and the TMO agreed to let the frustrated Highlanders stew as a dramatic contest came to an end.

Marty Banks opened the scoring for the Highlanders with a sixth-minute penalty, but their narrow lead was very short-lived.

Less than two minutes later, Bailyn Sullivan showed quick feet to enter James Lentjes before switching to Scott Gregory, who slipped through Hugh Renton’s tackle before turning on the afterburners to slam Aaron Smith down the line.

Barrett knocked over the conversion to make it 7-3 for the Canes.

Connor Garden-Bachop was so close for the Canes’ second try but Renton came back brilliantly to knock the ball over the line for him in a tackle.

The game took a turn for the worse for the Highlanders in the 20th minute when Josh Dickson was shown the red card for a high tackle on Tevita Mafileo’s head.

The Hurricanes took full advantage a minute later when Jackson Garden-Bachop pinned TJ Perenara’s pass before running onto open space on the wing and running away for a try. Barrett’s conversion was good to make it 14-3.

Banks clinched three points for the Highlanders with a 33rd-minute penalty before Asafo Aumua’s attempt was ruled out after the Hooker was decided to have been kept over the line by a wonderful last-minute defense.

Barrett restored the Canes’ 14-point lead with a penalty in the 48th minute before things heated up around the 50-minute mark.

A powerful Highlanders punch sent Andrew Makalio dropping the ball over the line. Banks missed the conversion, leaving them 16-11.

Banks made up for it with a penalty a few minutes later to put them on three points.

The home side took the lead for the first time since the sixth minute after a brilliant Max Hicks counterattack was crowned over the line just after the hour mark.

Banks’ conversion made it 21-17, but that wasn’t the end of the drama.

In the 74th minute, Aiden Morgan combined with Julian Savea at lineout time to set up his first career attempt after a nice backline move. Barrett failed to convert, but it was enough for the Hurricanes to lead 22-21.

Hurricanes beat Highlanders in a controversial but thrilling super rugby derby

Source link Hurricanes beat Highlanders in a controversial but thrilling super rugby derby

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