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Hurricanes survive scare to go top

FRIDAY WRAP: The Hurricanes regained top spot in the Super Rugby table with a hard-fought 32-24 home win over Moana Pasifika.

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Both sides finished with four tries in Wellington after the visitors staged an impressive fightback from 0-19 down.

“That was a crazy game, we’re happy to get through that one,” said Hurricanes captain Brad Shields.

“When you let Moana get up a bit of steam and energy they are a difficult team to handle, but I am proud of the way the boys stuck at it.”

The Blues can retake first place in the table if they beat the Highlanders at home on Saturday.

Smarting from their last-gasp defeat at the Blues last Saturday, the Hurricanes made 11 changes but flew out of the traps by bagging three quick tries.

Hooker Raymond Tuputupu powered his way over early from the back of the maul.

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Prop Siale Lauaki and scrum-half Richard Judd then ran in counter-attack tries from misjudged Moana kicks as the hosts built a comfortable lead.

The momentum shifted midway through the first half as Moana prop forwards Samiuela Moli and Abraham Pole both crashed over for tries. Moana went into the break only 12-19 down.

The Hurricanes lead was further trimmed when winger Fine Inisi crossed out wide from a long pass.

Hurricanes replacement flank Peter Lakai grabbed a converted try from a charged down kick and flyhalf Aidan Morgan landed a penalty as the hosts reopened a 29-17 lead with 20 minutes to go.

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Moana fought back again as forward Alamanda Motuga twisted his way over for a converted try after a quick tap.

Morgan landed a late penalty for the Hurricanes to wrap up the scoring.

“We’ll have to tighten our screws a bit coming into the next game,” Shields said as the Hurricanes take on the Waikato Chiefs next Friday in Hamilton.

The defeat leaves Moana in 10th, three points outside the playoff spots with two games left.

* In Friday’s other match the Rebels’ last Super Rugby Pacific home game – potentially ever – has ended on a heartbreaking note with the Rebels losing 23-26 to the Chiefs.

Star Chiefs playmaker Damien McKenzie slotted a penalty in the 78th minute to split a 23-all deadlock to secure the win.

Rugby Australia are still to decide whether to shutter the financially stricken club, whose fans turned out in force to honour the side.

All Friday’s scores and scorers follow below …

Hurricanes 32-24 Moana Pasifika

The scorers

For the Hurricanes
Tries: Tuputupu, Lauaki, Judd, Lakai
Cons: Morgan 3
Pens: Morgan 2

For Moana Pasifika
Tries: Mafileo, Pole, Inisi, Motuga
Cons: Havili, Lealiifano

Teams

Hurricanes: 15 Harry Godfrey, 14 Daniel Sinkinson, 13 Bailyn Sullivan, 12 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 11 Kini Naholo, 10 Aidan Morgan, 9 Richard Judd, 8 Devan Flanders, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Ben Grant, 4 Justin Sangster, 3 Siale Lauaki, 2 Raymond Tuputupu, 1 Pouri Rakete-Stones.
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Pasilio Tosi, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawe, 20 Peter Lakai, 21 Jordi Viljoen, 22 Riley Higgins, 23 Salesi Rayasi.

Moana: 15 Danny Toala, 14 Fine Inisi, 13 Henry Taefu, 12 Julian Savea, 11 Neria Fomai, 10 William Havili, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 Lotu Inisi, 7 Sione Havili Talitui, 6 Jacob Norris, 5 Allan Craig, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Samieula Moli, 1 Abraham Pole.
Replacements: 16 Sama Malolo, 17 Tevita Langi, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Ola Tauelangi, 20 Alamanda Motuga, 21 Aisea Halo, 22 Christian Lealiifano, 23 Anzelo Tuitavuki.

Referee: James Doleman
Assistant referees: Jono Bredin; Fraser Hannon
TMO: Chris Hart

Melbourne Rebels 23-26 Chiefs

The scorers

For the Rebels
Tries: Vaihu, Anderson 2
Con: Jooste
Pens: Jooste 2

For the Chiefs
Tries: Vaai, Taukei’aho
Cons: McKenzie 2
Pens: McKenzie 4

Teams:

Rebels: 15 Jake Strachan, 14 Lachie Anderson, 13 Filipo Daugunu, 12 Nick Jooste, 11 Darby Lancaster, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Vaiolinil Ekuasi, 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Josh Kemeny, 5 Josh Canham, 4 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Isaac Kailea.
Replacements: 16 Ethan Dobbins, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Pone Fa’amausili, 19 Angelo Smith, 20 Maciu Nabolakasi, 21 Rob Leota, 22 Jack Maunder, 23 Glen Vaihu.

Chiefs: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Cortez Ratima, 8 Luke Jacobson (captain), 7 Kaylum Boshier, 6 Simon Parker, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 3 George Dyer, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Jared Proffit, 18 Reuben O’Neill, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Wallace Sititi, 21 Xavier Roe, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Rameka Poihipi.

Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy; George Myers
TMO: Oli Kellett

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