The Hurricanes remain top of the Super Rugby ladder after holding off an improved Queensland Reds to win 35-19 on Sunday.
A bumper crowd of 26,374 at Suncorp Stadium saw the Reds battle manfully, only to once again prove to be their own enemy with more bad errors and poor execution.
Late tries from Julian Savea and TJ Perenara sealed the victory for the Hurricanes, who bounced back well from last weekend’s loss against the NSW Waratahs.
It was far from the blowout result some had predicted, with the likes of Samu Kerevi and Liam Gill enhancing their cases for a Wallabies World Cup berth.
Kerevi scored a first-half double as Queensland hinted at what would have been an upset of enormous proportions – but once the Hurricanes clicked into gear it became a procession.
It looked like the same old Reds had rolled out as they coughed up four penalties inside the first 10 minutes, allowing the Hurricanes all the early momentum.
With one of them, Beauden Barrett passed David Holwell as the Hurricanes’ highest-ever pointscorer and gave the visitors a 3-0 lead.
But for all their faults, the Reds proved damaging when they eventually got their hands on the ball.
Kerevi scored his two tries six minutes apart with the first of them the more impressive as he breezed past All Blacks pair Savea and Conrad Smith.
The 21-year-old put a massive right step on Savea and then slipped through Smith’s tackle to crash over.
James O’Connor could only convert Kerevi’s second effort, giving the Reds a 12-3 advantage.
Yet just as easily as they surged in front, Queensland fell apart.
Tackles stopped sticking, the Hurricanes sniffed an opportunity and they took it with a penalty and two converted tries from Perenara and Callum Gibbins before the break.
Barrett again kicked truly minutes after the restart to make it 20 unanswered points and go 23-12 in front.
The Reds were by no means finished and in the 46th minute they struck back through Gill, who spun out of a tackle after a scrum and scored under the posts.
But from there on it was a case of one step forwards, two steps back.
O’Connor converted Gill’s try to make it 23-19, but his night ended four minutes later when he had to go off after a head knock – leaving Queensland without a recognised goalkicker.
Then Gill joined him on the sidelines, earning a yellow card in the 57th minute and opening the door for the Hurricanes to take control.