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Savea saves the day for 'Canes

12th May 2012 08:04

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'Canes: Kept play-offs hopes alive

Revenge was sweet for the Hurricanes after beating the Highlanders 26-20 at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday.

Trailing by one point and with six minutes left on the clock, Hurricanes wing Julian Savea burst through the Highlanders defence and raced in for a superb solo try that proved to be the match-winner.

The Hurricanes, who lost their previous encounter with the Highlanders this season, will consider themselves lucky to escape with this victory after two controversial calls went their way in a tight contest.

The Highlanders had Phil Burleigh's try chalked off by the TMO after he appeared to have scored in the corner - and then minutes later the Hurricanes got away with one when Jason Eaton's foot in touch was missed in the build-up to Faifili Levave's try.

Fly-half Chris Noakes and flank Adam Thomson had both scored tries for the Highlanders, while Noakes and Mike Delany added a penalty each as the hosts led 14-3 and then 20-19.

However Lavave's controversial try, Julian Savea's superb late breakaway and 16 points from the boot of Beauden Barrett rubbed salt into the wounds.

The Hurricanes have now won six and lost five from 11 matches, but the their concession of a bonus point means the Highlanders remain in third position on the New Zealand conference stance - a point ahead of the Wellington-based franchise.

The Hurricanes started the scoring with an early Barrett penalty only for the Highlanders to respond with Noakes stepping around three defenders to score near the posts and then add the conversion.

It was a try that signalled to the Highlanders there was ground to be made by taking the direct route at the Hurricanes.

Thomson led a series of pick-and-goes which took the Highlanders up to the Hurricanes line where the All Blacks flanker remained on hand to score the second try.

But while the Highlanders were scoring tries their half-time lead was restricted to 14-9 as Barrett penalties kept the Hurricanes in touch.

A Noakes penalty extended the Highlanders lead after the break, but the Hurricanes struck back immediately when they won the restart and the move ended with a try to Levave which Barrett converted from wide out.

The Hurricanes regained the lead with 15 minutes remaining with another Barrett penalty when Thomson was penalised for a late tackle on TJ Perenara.

Replacement pivot Delany put the Highlanders back in front with a handy penalty before Savea had the final say in a see-saw contest.

The scorers:

For Highlanders:
Tries: Noakes, Thomson
Cons: Noakes
Pens: Noakes

For Hurricanes:
Tries: Levave,Savea
Cons: Barrett
Pens: Barrett 4

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Siale Piutau, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Adam Thomson, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 Chris King.
Replacements: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Kendrick Lynn.

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Charlie Ngatai/Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 Brad Shields, 19 Jack Lam, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Tusi Pisi / Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22 Tim Bateman /Alapati Leiua.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)

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