Highlanders Snatch Defeat From the Jaws of Victory Against Hurricanes

Otto SaaymanContributor IFebruary 20, 2009

The Hurricanes and the Highlanders both came from losses in the first round of this year's Super 14 competition. Although the Hurricanes scrum looked better in the first half than last week against the Waratahs the game was spoiled for them by aimless kicking at first.

The Highlanders kept building phases and hanging on to the ball very well—a perfect tactic on a greasy playing field. Highlanders kept the ball in hand, but could not penetrate the Hurricanes line. The only score in the first half was a penalty by Dan Kirkpatrick on the stroke of halftime with a Highlander sent off.

Half Time: Hurricanes 3, Highlanders 0

The Hurricanes struck first in the second half, but the Highlanders persistence paid off at last and they struck twice in 15 minutes to take the lead.

Good defence by the Highlanders kept the Hurricanes at bay for most of the first half before Jason Eaton rounded off after a long period of sustained pressure by the Hurricanes.

In true vintage Hurricanes style they stole it at the death—punishing a mistake by the Highlanders' last line of defence. Conrad Smith sealed a victory for the home side and the Hurricanes hung on to win the match 22 points to 17.