Rugby-Perenara inspires Hurricanes as Waratahs win thriller v Crusaders

  • Rugby
  • Saturday, 13 Apr 2024

(Reuters) - Scrumhalf TJ Perenara equalled the Super Rugby Pacific all-time try-scoring record in the Wellington Hurricanes' 36-23 victory over Waikato Chiefs on Saturday, while New South Wales Waratahs won a golden-point thriller against Canterbury Crusaders.

The Hurricanes continued their unbeaten start to the season with a seventh consecutive win in Wellington but had to come from 23-17 down in the second half before running away with the contest in the final quarter.

Perenara, in the starting line-up due to a season-ending injury to Cam Roigard, crossed twice to draw level on 62 career tries with Julian Savea, who scored for Moana Pasifika in their 17-14 victory over ill-disciplined Queensland Reds on Friday.

The Hurricanes are five points clear at the top of the Super Rugby Pacific table with 32 from seven games, ahead of Auckland Blues and ACT Brumbies, who are both on 27 points and had a bye this weekend.

The Hurricanes trailed just before the hour-mark but took control of the contest as Perenara, Kini Naholo and Asafo Aumua all crossed for tries.

"I’m pretty happy with the way we defended at times and our bench came on and changed the game for us," Hurricanes captain Brad Shields said. "A couple of key moments that we executed really well put us in a good spot to win."

Replacement flyhalf Will Harrison kicked New South Wales Waratahs to a remarkable 43-40 golden point victory over the Canterbury Crusaders in Sydney on Friday, a game in which the lead changed hands 13 times.

The Waratahs trailed by three points after the hooter at the end of 80 minutes but Harrison drew them level with a penalty, before landing a drop-goal in extra-time to seal the golden point win and keep the home side’s season alive.

"I surprised myself," Harrison said. "In the past, I feel like I’ve had those nerves creep into me, but I think a lot of it has got to do with what I’ve been through the last couple of years being in pretty tough situations, uncomfortable situations."

Sevu Reece bagged a brace to equal the Crusaders' all-time Super Rugby try-scoring record of 52 as the visitors ran in five tries, but scores by Lachlan Swinton, Ned Hanigan, Dylan Pietsch and Julian Heaven helped the home side to the bonus-point win.

The Crusaders have a single victory from seven games this campaign but are still only six points off a quarter-final place with a game in hand.

The Reds lived up to their name after two players were sent off in the loss to Moana Pasifika in Whangarei.

Australia international scrumhalf Tate McDermott got a red card for a swinging arm into the head of Moana flanker Irie Papuni early in the second half, before flanker Fraser McReight exited the game for a high tackle in the final 10 minutes.

The home team took advantage as William Havili crossed for a try with a minute to go to seal their third win of the campaign and move into the top eight on the table, and at the same time inflict a third defeat in a row on the Reds.

Cash-strapped Melbourne Rebels continued their strong season on the pitch with a fifth win in eight games as they beat the visiting Otago Highlanders 47-31 to move into fourth in the table.

Darby Lancaster scored a hat-trick of tries and Carter Gordon bagged two as the Rebels profited from numerous Highlanders errors to seal a big win.

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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