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Hurricanes beat Highlanders 20-13 in Super Rugby

Hurricanes beat Highlanders 20-13 in Super Rugby, stretch winning streak to 5 games

Hurricanes beat Highlanders 20-13 in Super Rugby

DUNEDIN, New Zealand (AP) -- Hurricanes prop Reg Goodes and scrumhalf T.J. Perenara scored second half tries which lifted the Wellington-based team to a 20-13 win over the Highlanders in Super Rugby on Friday, extending its unbeaten run to five games.

Goodes' try in the 48th minute and Perenara's in the 72nd allowed the Hurricanes to break out of a 3-3 halftime deadlock. The Highlanders hit back with a 78th-minute try to flyhalf Lima Sopoaga who scored all of their points.

The closeness of the first half was partly due to the quality of both defenses but more to poor option-taking, tactics and execution. The Hurricanes have an All Blacks backline but made no effort to use it and met the Highlanders in one-dimensional forward struggle.

The Hurricanes had advantages of territory and possession but no idea how to use them. They concentrated on driving the ball through their forwards, a tactic easily negated.

Flyhalf Beauden Barrett sprayed penalties wide of the posts in both halves and his general play was poor, breaking down any connection between the forwards and backs.

The Hurricanes' tries, when they came, were uninspiring. In both cases, players flopped over the goalline after forward buildups.

The Highlanders produced the best try of the match when Sopoaga glided through lazy defense to score and, with his conversion, to earn the Highlanders a bonus point.

"It was tough, we knew it was going to be and it just came down to a few moments," Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith said. "We didn't have a good first 40 minutes, We were lucky to be in it but then we played a good 25 and were good enough to keep pressure right on them."



Hurricanes 20 (Reg Goodes, T.J. Perenara tries; Beauden Barrett 2 conversions, 2 penalties), Highlanders 13 (Lima Sopoaga try, Lima Sopoaga conversion, 2 penalties). HT: 3-3.