The Hurricanes solidified their place at the summit of the Super Rugby log after thrashing the Highlanders 56-20 in a thrilling match at McLean Park in Napier on Friday. It took only took a minute for the Landers to open the scoring as the Canes failed to protect the ball at the ruck and Lima Sopoaga capatalised to score a superb drop goal. Two penalties from James Marshall put the Wellington franchise in the lead before Blade Thomson went over the line for the game’s first try in the 14th minute.
The hosts were running rampant and James Marshall extended their lead with a superb solo try before TJ Perenara rolled over a tackle and barged over the line for the Hurricanes third try of the match. Tries from Ryan Tongia and Sopoaga reduced the deficit for the visitors before Dane Coles got the home team’s fourth try in the 35th minute. Marshall slotted away the conversion as Chris Boyd’s charges led 30-13 at the interval.
Julian Savea and Marty Banks exchanged tries early in the second-half before Perenara went over for his second try of the match. Marshall added the extras as the Canes held a commanding 24-point lead after 50 minutes played. Boyd’s boys showed no signs of slowing down as Ma’a Nonu helped himself to two tries in the space of four minutes to push the hosts further in front.
Marshall got the extras to round-off the scoring as the home side earned a comfortable home victory.