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Hurricanes edge Highlanders 25-22 in Super Rugby

Flyhalf Beauden Barrett kicked a penalty in the 82nd minute to give the Hurricanes a 25-22 win over the Highlanders on Friday in a bruising New Zealand derby in Super Rugby.
The Hurricanes were down 22-14 after 59 minutes but rallied with a penalty to Barrett and a try to winger Ben Lam to tie the scores with 10 minutes remaining.
Both teams had chances in that intense final 10 minutes but it was the Hurricanes who lifted themselves to victory, accentuating discipline and holding on to possession on either side of the fulltime siren.
The Highlanders finally conceded a breakdown penalty in front of their posts and Barrett kicked his fourth goal from six attempts to give the Hurricanes their third win from four games.
"I thought in that first 30 minutes they were the bullies and we were getting bullied at our cleanout and our attack," Hurricanes captain Dane Coles said. "It was a real ding-dong battle.
"They came back in that second half and our discipline was terrible between the 55th and the 70th-minute mark. But we showed character and when we kept it simple and carried clean, we got there."
The Highlanders played superb wet-weather rugby to dominate most of the first half. They had the best scrum and they were physical at the breakdowns where the Hurricanes gave away penalties.
But center Ngani Laumape scored two tries, bringing his tally for the season to five in four games, as the Hurricanes kept themselves alive in a match in which the lead changed hands four times.
Laumape scored three tries in last week's 43-13 win over the ACT Brumbies and the Highlanders, recognizing his threat, double-teamed him early in the match with Richard Buckman coming off the wing to defend in midfield.
But Laumape was devastating when he was given space. He ran off a pass from lock Liam Mitchell to score his first try and seized a cross-kick from Beauden Barret for his second, giving the Hurricanes a 14-8 lead at halftime.
In a see-sawing game, neither team had been able to score twice in succession until center Sio Tompkinson intercepted a Barrett pass for a try in the 51st minute and hooker Liam Coltman was driven over in the 59th to give the Highlanders an eight-point lead.
The Hurricanes tied the score with a brilliant try to Lam, created when Jordie Barrett doubled around Chase Tiatia in midfield. Barrett then finished the comeback with his late penalty.
"I was really proud of effort," Highlanders captain Ben Smith said. "Congratulations to the Canes, they were good enough to finish it."


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