Super Rugby
Hurricanes move top of the ladder
ESPN Staff
March 20, 2015
Report Match details
Date/Time: Mar 20, 2015, 19:35 local, 06:35 GMT
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Highlanders 13 - 20 Hurricanes
Half-time: 3 - 3
Tries: Sopoaga
Cons: Sopoaga
Pens: Sopoaga 2
Tries: Goodes, Perenara
Cons: Barrett 2
Pens: Barrett 2
Beauden Barrett of the Hurricanes attempts to bust the Highlanders defence, Highlanders v Hurricanes, Super Rugby, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, March 20, 2015
Beauden Barrett takes on the Highlanders defences
© Getty Images
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The Hurricanes have extended to five matches their winning start to the Super Rugby season, claiming a hard-fought victory over the Highlanders in Dunedin. The result put the Hurricanes top of the table, although the Brumbies can go back above them with victory against the Waratahs in Sydney on Sunday.

The visitors had to graft for the win after monopolising territory for the first hour but coming up against a committed defence. It wasn't until the 48th minute, with the score at 3-3, that they got over the try line - and it took 18 phases before prop Reg Goodes burrowed over.

Highlanders 13-20 Hurricanes (Australia only)

Five-eighth Beauden Barrett added the conversion and a penalty to claim a 10-point advantage, but that marked the start of a period of concerted attack by the Highlanders. Lima Sopoaga, who scored all the Highlanders' points, closed the gap with a penalty before the home side forced the Hurricanes into stern defence of their own.

Twice the Highlanders, with fullback and co-skipper Ben Smith in lively form, turned down penalty attempts to go for the seven points, but they came up empty-handed. Instead, a huge tackle by second five-eighth Ma'a Nonu on fellow All Blacks midfielder Malakai Fekitoa sparked a Hurricanes counter-attack that finished with half-back TJ Perenara dotting down. Sopoaga then set up a grandstand finish with two minutes to go when he touched down and converted.

The defeat ended a three-match winning run for the Highlanders, whose scalps included the previously unbeaten Chiefs and defending champions the Waratahs.

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