Hurricanes pushed hard by improved Kings

The Hurricanes have made it three Super Rugby wins in a row, but they were made to battle before subduing the Southern Kings 42-20.

The scoreline in Wellington on Friday night belied the effort put in by the Kings, who had begun the season with three big losses.

But they were well in the contest at just five points behind with eight minutes to go, when the home side kicked clear with a try to midfielder Vince Aso.

Five-eighth Beauden Barrett then dotted down in the final minute for the Hurricanes’ fifth try to blow out the margin and secure a bonus point.

The result meant the Hurricanes, who have a bye next weekend, extended their winning streak over South African opposition to seven matches.

The early signs at Westpac Stadium weren’t good for the Kings as they were starved of possession and were called to make plenty of tackles.

The Hurricanes showed a willingness to run the ball at every opportunity and they profited with three tries in the opening 26 minutes as inside centre Ngani Laumape, No.8 Blade Thomson and explosive openside flanker Ardie Savea all crossed.

At 19-3, it looked like they would run away with the game, especially as the Kings often kicked away the possession they had to their counter-attacking opponents.

But the visitors struck back in the last 10 minutes of the opening spell.

Their decision to turn down a penalty shot at goal and go for the corner paid dividends.

From the ensuing lineout, they worked the phases and skipper and lock Steven Sykes marked his 100th Super Rugby appearance with a touchdown.

In the shadow of halftime, the Kings, playing into the wind, made it a two-point game.

From a turnover in Hurricanes territory, inside centre Shane Gates produced a superb offload for Louis Fouche to touch down and the five-eighth added the extras.

In the second half, the teams traded penalties before the Hurricanes closed out the match with their late double strike.

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