The Hurricanes’ unbeaten start to the season continued as they claimed a 20 -13 Super Rugby victory against the Highlanders at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday. The home side started really well and the early pressure left the Canes defence unsettled in the early exchanges. Lima Sopoaga did well to capitalise on the visitors’ uncertainty and his excellent interception turned into a three point opportunity after Ma’a Nonu was penalised for a ruck infringement.
Sopoaga scored the penalty to give the hosts an early lead but the Canes responded well and were rewarded with a three point opportunity of their own. Beauden Barrett stepped up but unfortunately his kick was off target. Four minutes from half-time and Barrett restored parity with a penalty making amends for his earlier miss.
The score remained 3-3 at the break after Sopoaga missed a penalty just before the half-time whistle. The second-half began with another missed penalty by Sopoaga and the away side took advantage and scored the game’s first try. The Wellington franchise was camped close to the Landers’ try line allowing Reggie Goodes to spot a gap and crash over from close quarters.
Barrett added the extras to give his team a 10-3 lead. Sopoaga and Barrett then exchanged penalties before TJ Perenara scored the Canes’ second try of the match in the 73rd minute. Again Barrett converted to extend the lead to 20-6 and Chris Boyd’s men looked to be out of sight but the Otago franchise didn’t give up. They were rewarded with a late try and conversion from the ever-present Sopoaga.
It was too little too late for the hosts as the Canes claimed a 20-13 victory.