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Canes edge out Highlanders for Super win

The Hurricanes have scrapped hard in a 21-14 defeat of the Highlanders, overcoming a late scare for a second-straight Super Rugby Pacific victory.

The hosts looked to have sealed the sloppy contest at Wellington’s Sky Stadium on Saturday when Peter Umaga-Jensen set up Logan Henry for a 21-7 lead.

But the Highlanders, who had pressed throughout the second half for little reward, came again through Josh Dickson.

The try, on the back of 12 phases, broke a run of unforced errors and allowed a chance inside the final three minutes for the winless outfit to concoct an unlikely draw.

A scrum penalty ended their hopes though as the Canes improved to 2-1.

Both teams hit the post with penalty kicks attempting to open the scoring, Hurricanes’ prop Pouri Rakete-Stones taking matters into his own hands to race 25 metres for his first Super Rugby try.

A 7-0 halftime lead was doubled when Billy Proctor scored, before the Highlanders applied pressure and found a reply through Manaaki Selby-Rickit.

They then traded tries again to create a nervy finish in the near-empty stadium.

“We want to close teams out and we were just lucky we were holding on,” Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea said.

Aaron Smith provided some refreshing zip off the bench for the Highlanders but they were left to lament more mistakes in a fifth-straight loss to New Zealand rivals.

“That seems to be our killer,” captain Mitch Hunt said.

“We’re creating plenty, the foundations are there but it’s the small nails holding things up that are not quite right.

“We need to be able to finish.”

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