Perenara equals Super Rugby try-scoring record as Hurricanes beat Chiefs 36-23 to stay unbeaten

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Former All Blacks scrumhalf T.J. Perenara scored two tries to equal the tournament’s all-time try-scoring record as the Wellington-based Hurricanes beat the Hamilton-based Chiefs 36-23 on Saturday to stay unbeaten through eight rounds of Super Rugby Pacific.

Peranara scored in the 17th minute as the Hurricanes used an overwhelming scrum advantage early to build a 17-7 lead and again in the 58th minute, after the Chiefs had rallied to go ahead 23-17.

In a late match at Melbourne, Australia, the host Rebels beat the Dunedin, New Zealand-based Highlanders 47-31. It was the Rebels' fifth win in eight matches this season and the first time the team has won three consecutive matches since August 2020.

Conceding penalties and turning over possession with bad passes, the Hurricanes helped the Chiefs back into the match. They scored a try through scrumhalf Cortez Ratima and then closed the gap on the Hurricanes with penalties to Damian McKenzie, even with winger Emoni Narawa in the sin-bin.

Again at the start of the second half, the Chiefs looked more composed than the Hurricanes, advancing the ball well through one-off runners, occasionally using offloads to stretch the defense and with McKenzie kicking effectively.

Back from the sin-bin, Narawa scored the Chiefs’ second try and gave them a six-point lead.

But near the start of the last quarter, the tide switched again and the Hurricanes won back the lead through Perenara who drew level with former Hurricanes winger Julian Savea on 62 career tries.

Then winger Kini Naholo scored at the end of a sweeping movement of more than a dozen phases. And hooker Asafo Aumua, whose bruising ball-carrying had been a feature of the match, brushed off one tackler and carried three more over the line to score the Hurricanes’ fourth try.

“It’s pretty obvious our discipline at times put us at the wrong end of the field and the Chiefs are a good team and will capitalize on that,” Hurricanes captain Brad Shields said. “I’m pretty happy with the way we defended at times and our bench came on and changed the game for us."


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