Most of the time, the Hurricanes had a great start before the Highlanders bounced back in the last 30 mins of the afternoon.
Despite the late threat, it’s the continuous errors in the finishing and poor scrummaging that fell short by six points from the Highlanders.
Now, we look at the Top 3 players who did the best overall regardless of which shirt.
First up, TJ Perenara.
He honed up a combination of running and feeding in the No.9 shirt, having scored a TRY himself in the 1st half.
He observed a gap so well before unpacking some magic footwork that tricked the Highlanders defense where they couldn’t arrest him.
Plus, the leadership in the successful scrummaging and build-up play benefitted his forwards & backline department working together.
It oversaw each of their group cherry-picked two further tries just before and after the break.
With a talented backline led by Jordie Barrett, it benefitted Perenara’s game that ticked off all the boxes.
Next up, Asafo Aumua.
He helped take down the opposition build-up attack with the tackles defensively, which helped create opportunities for his home side.
Not only that, but he also unleashed his physical strength via the scrummaging, line-outs, rucking & maul where some of the Highlanders defenders couldn’t get hold of him.
His contribution to the attack helped his backline buddies TJ Perenara & Kobus Van Wyk complete their touchdowns in the 1st half.
Plus, you got his forwards team-mate, Devan Flanders, with the third and final try just a few minutes after the break.
That way, with the support of the talented XV around him, it helped Aumua unpack bit by bit via a combination of running and power became the highlight of the Hurricanes’ successful afternoon.
Lastly, we go to the Highlanders with Ash Dixon.
He’s one of the key men in the away side who helped win penalties for the whole time.
His forwards’ muscle strength via the scrummaging, build up attack, defense and throw-ins helped them bounce back in the 2nd half.
That kind of versatility allowed his troops to work together.
It gave Dixon saw a great observation with the gap on the far-right before he quickly made a short ball towards Aaron Smith for the finish.
Unfortunately, continuous mistakes such as lost scrummaging & fumbles combined with a lack of backline support saw them fell short in the end.
With five rounds to go now in this competition, the Highlanders go to FMG Stadium in Waikato next Sunday.
They meet up fellow strugglers, the Chiefs who have yet to win this competition.
The question is, can they bounce back after two straight losses or redemption, at least from the boys from Waikato?
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes go to Auckland on Saturday night at Eden Park.
Is this still the year of the Blues after their first loss last night v the Crusaders?
If not, have the Hurricanes have seen the peak of what the Aucklanders have to offer & give them a blow going to Week 6 of Super Rugby Aoteroa.
We’ll find out next weekend as the mega three days of rugby is done and dusted.