Highlanders upset Hurricanes in Wellington

21:06, Feb 19 2011
Hurricanes
Hurricanes player Charlie Ngatai in action in their warm-up match against the Chiefs.
Hurricanes
Andre Taylor scores for the Hurricanes in their warm-up match against the Chiefs.
Hurricanes
Hurricanes player Charlie Ngatai is tackled in their warm-up match against the Chiefs.
Hurricanes
Hurricanes player James Broadhurst comes in to score in their warm-up match against the Chiefs.
Highlanders and Hurricanes
The Highlanders and Hurricanes forward packs get ready to pack down a scrum.
Ma'a Nonu
Hurricanes second-five Ma'a Nonu, who received a red card, tries to break out of Josh Bekhuis' tackle.
Aaron Cruden
Hurricanes first-five Aaron Cruden runs at Jimmy Cowan, chased by Adam Thomson.
Victor Vito
Always dangerous on attack, Hurricanes flanker Victor Vito tries to break away from Adam Thomson.
Blues vs Hurricanes
Blues fullback Isaia Toeava tries to outpace Hurricanes fullback Cory Jane in the Blues & Hurricanes Super15 rugby match at Eden Park.
Blues vs Hurricanes
Blues lock Anthony Boric drives in the tackle of Hurricanes second-five Ma'a Nonu with Tony Woodcock in support in the Blues & Hurricanes Super 15 rugby match at Eden Park.
Blues vs Hurricanes
Blues fullback Isaia Toeava is dragged down by the tackle of Hurricanes No 8 Victor Vito in the Blues & Hurricanes Super 15 rugby match at Eden Park.
Blues vs Hurricanes
Blues right wing Rene Ranger in action during the Blues & Hurricanes Super 15 rugby match at Eden Park.
Blues vs Hurricanes
Hurricanes fullback Cory Jane counter-attacks during the Blues vs Hurricanes Super15 rugby match at Eden Park.
Blues vs Hurricanes
The Hurricanes stand during a minute's silence in respect of the victims of the Japanese eathquake in the Blues vs Hurricanes Super 15 rugby match at Eden Park.
Blues vs Hurricanes
Blues player Jared Payne dives over for their final try in the tackles of Hurricanes Mark Reddish (left) and Aaron Cruden in the Blues vs Hurricanes Super 15 rugby game played at Eden Park in Auckland.
Hurricanes vs Chiefs
Jack Lam of the Hurricanes is tackled by Isaac Ross of the Chiefs during the Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Chiefs at Westpac Stadium.
Hurricanes vs Chiefs
Sitiveni Sivivatu of the Chiefs is tackled by Jason Eaton and Neemia Tialata of the Hurricanes during Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Chiefs at Westpac Stadium.
Hurricanes vs Chiefs
Andre Taylor of the Hurricanes runs the ball during the Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Chiefs at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
Hurricanes v Rebels
Daniel Kirkpatrick of the Hurricanes is tackled against the Melbourne Rebels.
Hurricanes v Rebels
Danny Cipriani of the Rebels is driven back by Victor Vito of the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Rebels
Players battle for position in the scrum during the round six match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Rebels
Andre Taylor of the Hurricanes is tackled by Tim Davidson of the Rebels.
Hurricanes v Bulls
Jaco Pretorius and Dewald Potgieter of the Bulls celebrate their win over the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Bulls
Aaron Cruden of the Hurricanes is tackled by Victor Matfield.
Hurricanes v Bulls
Fourie du Prteez of the Bulls has a kick blocked by John Schwalger of the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Bulls
Captain of the Bulls Victor Matfield jumps for the ball against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Bulls
Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes is tackled by Pierre Spies of the Bulls.
Hurricanes v Brumbies
Peter Kimlin of the Brumbies is tackled by Hurricanes' players at Canberra Stadium.
Hurricanes v Brumbies
Matt Giteau and Christian Lealiifano of the Brumbies celebrate after beating the Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium.
Hurricanes v Brumbies
Colby Faingaa of the Brumbies is tackled against the Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium.
Hurricanes v Cheetahs
Hosea Gear of the Hurricanes is tackled by Cheetahs' players.
Hurricanes v Cheetahs
Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes is tackled by Davon Raubenheimer of the Cheetahs.
Hurricanes v Cheetahs
Coenie Oosthuizen of the Cheetahs is tackled.
Hurricanes v Cheetahs
Sarel Pretorius of the Cheetahs avoids a challenge.
Hurricanes v Sharks
Tyson Keats of the Hurricanes is tackled by Beast Mtwarira and Stefan Terblanche of the Sharks.
Hurricanes v Sharks
Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes is held in a tackle against the Sharks.
Hurricanes v Sharks
Serge Lilo of Hurricanes leaves the field with a knee injury during the match against the Sharks.
Hurricanes v Sharks
Jack Lam of Hurricanes holds off Jacques Botes of Sharks.
Hurricanes v Sharks
Ryan Kankowski of Sharks is out jumped by Victor Vito of Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Reds
Charlie Ngatai of the Hurricanes leaves on a stretcher against the Reds.
Hurricanes v Reds
Scott Higginbotham of the Reds scores a try against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Reds
Chris Eaton of the Hurricanes passes against the Reds.
Hurricanes v Reds
Aaron Cruden is swamped by his Hurricanes teammates after kicking the winning goal against the Reds.
Hurricanes v Reds
Andre Taylor dives in to score a try for the Hurricanes against the Reds.
Hurricanes v Blues
Jayden Hayward protects the pill for the Hurricanes during their 17-11 defeat at home to the Blues
Hurricanes v Blues
Aaron Cruden takes a unique body position to control the ball.
Hurricanes v Blues
Lachie Munro hangs on desperately to Alapati Leiua.
Hurricanes v Blues
Hosea Gear scores a try for the Hurricanes, but it isn't enough to secure a victory.
Hurricanes v Blues
David Kirkpatrick looks to make a break during the Hurricanes' 11-17 defeat at home to the Blues.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Highlanders player Ben Atiga is tackled by Hurricanes' Jayden Hayward.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Highlanders player Jimmy Cowan kicks the ball against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Hurricanes' Jayden Hayward with the ball as Highlanders' Nasi Manu looms.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Highlanders and Hurricanes players about to engage a scrum.
Hurricanes v Force
The Force celebrate a try against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Force
Ben McCalman of the Force scores a try as he is tackled by Piri Weepu of the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Force
Cory Jane of the Hurricanes scores a try against the Western Force.
Hurricanes v Force
Ma'a Nonu of the Hurricanes scores a try against the Western Force.
Hurricanes v Force
John Schwalger of the Hurricanes is tackled by Nathan Charles of the Force.
Hurricanes v Lions
Aaron Cruden goes over for the Hurricanes first try against the Lions.
Hurricanes v Lions
Ma'a Nonu gets the pass away after being wrapped up by Warren Whiteley of the Lions.
Hurricanes v Lions
Hosea Gear looks for his support after being tackled down the side line against the Lions.
Hurricanes v Lions
Alapati Leiua fends off the Lions defence.
Hurricanes v Chiefs
Neemia Tialata in action for the Hurricanes against the Chiefs.
Hurricanes v Chiefs
Andrew Hore in action for the Hurricanes against the Chiefs.
Hurricanes v Chiefs
Sitiveni Sivivatu in action for the Chiefs against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Chiefs
Stephen Donald in action for the Chiefs against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Chiefs
Alapati Leiua of the Hurricanes and Lelia Masaga of the Chiefs battle for the ball.
Hurricanes v Chiefs
Andrew Hore in action for the Hurricanes against the Chiefs.
Hurricanes
Hurricanes player Hosea Gear.
Hurricanes
Hurricanes player James Broadhurst breaks through.
Hurricanes
Hurricanes player Ma`a Nonu and his son Mercury after the game.
Hurricanes
Hurricanes player Jeremy Thrush.

Hurricanes second-five Ma'a Nonu must have missed new coach Mark Hammett's memo about discipline as the Super Rugby season got off to the ugliest of starts.

Nonu's second half sending off left the Hurricanes a man down for the final half hour as they crashed to a 14-9 loss to the Highlanders in Wellington.

It was a disappointing start to Hammett's reign as coach and to another Hurricanes season that got off to a horror start in front of just 11,091 fans.

Highlanders
Lima Sopoaga of the Highlanders passes during the Super Rugby trial match against the Highlanders.
Highlanders
Sean Romans of the Highlanders passes during their Super Rugby trial match against the Blues.
Highlanders
James Paterson of the Highlanders makes a break during their Super Rugby trial match against the Blues.
Jimmy Cowan
Highlanders halfback Jimmy Cowan makes a dive pass clearance from a ruck.
Adam Thomson
Highlanders No 6 Adam Thomson collides with Hurricane Hosea Gear going for a high ball.
Adam Thomson
Highlanders flanker Adam Thomson wins a lineout cleanly during the win over the Hurricanes.
Highlanders and Hurricanes
The Highlanders and Hurricanes forward packs get ready to pack down a scrum.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Kade Poki of the Highlanders in action against the Chiefs at Carisbrook.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Jarrad Hoeata of the Highlanders is tackled by Mike Delany of the Chiefs.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Ben Smith of the Highlanders is tackled against the Chiefs at Carisbrook.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Adam Thomson of the Highlanders is tackled against the Chiefs.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Toby Smith of the Chiefs is tackled by Josh Bekuhis of the Highlanders.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Tawera Kerr-Barlow of the Chiefs is tackled by Jimmy Cowan of the Highlanders.
Highlanders v Chiefs
The players observe a minutes silence to remember those affected by the Christchurch earthquake before the round two Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Chiefs at Carisbrook.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders wing Kade Poki scores a try against the Bulls.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlander's halfback Jimmy Cowan clears the ball against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.
Highlanders v Bulls
Bulls centre Wynand Olivier tries to bring down Highlanders wing Telusa Veainu.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders players celebrate winning as Bulls players look on.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders first five Tony Brown tries to break away from a tackle by Bulls flanker Derick Kuün.
Highlanders vs Crusaders
Zac Guildford of the Crusaders makes a break during the round five Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders at Carisbrook, Dunedin.
Highlanders vs Crusaders
Jimmy Cowan of the Highlanders looks to pass during the round five Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders at Carisbrook, Dunedin.
Highlanders vs Crusaders
Matt Todd of the Crusaders tries to score during round five Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders at Carisbrook, Dunedin.
Highlanders vs Crusaders
Jimmy Cowan of the Highlanders feeds the scrum during the round five Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders at Carisbrook.
Highlanders vs Crusaders
Josh Bekuhis of the Highlanders is tackled during the round five Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders at Carisbrook, Dunedin.
Highlanders vs Crusaders
Nasi Manu of the Highlanders makes a break during the round five Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders at Carisbrook, Dunedin.
Highlanders vs Crusaders
Tony Brown of the Highlanders passes during the round five Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders at Carisbrook, Dunedin.
Highlanders v Brumbies
Tom Donnelly of the Highlanders takes the ball against the Brumbies.
Highlanders v Brumbies
Some of the crowd starting a mexican wave at theHighlanders v Brumbies match at Invercargill's Rugby Park.
Highlanders v Brumbies
Highlanders captain Jamie Mackintosh runs out onto the field at Invercargill's Rugby Park.
Highlanders v Brumbies
Jamie Mackintosh is congratulated by Jarrad Hoeata after scoring his try against the Brumbies.
Highlanders v Brumbies
Brumbies player Henry Speight being tackled by Highlanders players Ben Smith, Kendrick Lynn and Siale Piutau.
Highlanders v Cheetahs
Sarel Pretorius of the Cheetahs is tackled against the Highlanders.
Highlanders v Cheetahs
Ashley Johnson of the Cheetahs looks to pass against the Highlanders.
Highlanders v Cheetahs
Adam Thomson of the Highlanders dives over for a try against the Cheetahs.
Highlanders v Cheetahs
Adam Thomson of the Highlanders makes a break.
Highlanders v Cheetahs
Colin Slade of the Highlanders passes against the Cheetahs at Carisbrook.
Highlanders v Rebels
Ben Smith of the Highlanders makes a break against the Melbourne Rebels.
Highlanders v Rebels
Kade Poki of the Highlanders runs with the ball against the Melbourne Rebels.
Highlanders v Rebels
Jarrad Hoeata of the Highlanders is tackled against the Melbourne Rebels.
Highlanders v Rebels
Kade Poki of the Highlanders runs with the ball against the Melbourne Rebels.
Robbie Fruean of the Crusaders breaks through the tackle of Shaun Treeby of the Highlanders during the round 10 Super Rugby match in Nelson.
Robbie Fruean of the Crusaders breaks through the tackle of Shaun Treeby of the Highlanders during the round 10 Super Rugby match in Nelson.
Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith gets his pass away during the round 10 Super Rugby match against the Highlanders at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.
Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith gets his pass away during the round 10 Super Rugby match against the Highlanders at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.
Crusaders back Israel Dagg is tackled by James Paterson of the Highlanders during the round 10 Super Rugby match at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.
Crusaders back Israel Dagg is tackled by James Paterson of the Highlanders during the round 10 Super Rugby match at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.
Zac Guilford of the Crusaders is tackled by Aaron Smith of the Highlanders during the round 10 Super Rugby match at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.
Zac Guilford of the Crusaders is tackled by Aaron Smith of the Highlanders during the round 10 Super Rugby match at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.
Nasi Manu of the Highlanders runs with the ball during the round 10 Super Rugby match at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.
Nasi Manu of the Highlanders runs with the ball during the round 10 Super Rugby match at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.
Matt Todd of the Crusaders is tackled by Jarrad Hoeata of the Highlanders during the round 10 Super Rugby match at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.
Matt Todd of the Crusaders is tackled by Jarrad Hoeata of the Highlanders during the round 10 Super Rugby match at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Tony Brown clears for the Highlanders against the Crusaders.
Crusaders v Highlanders
The Highlanders and Crusaders pack down.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg is caught in a tackle as team mate Sonny Bill Williams moves in to give support against the Highlanders.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders player Ben Smith being tackled by Blues player.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders players Matt Saunders and Adam Thomson tackle Blues player Joe Rokocoko.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders players Robbie Robinson, Jamie Mackintosh and Jason Rutledge.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders player Jimmy Cowan is tackled by the Blues' Alby Mathewson and John Afoa.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders player Ben Smith is tackled by Blues player Luke McAlister.
Chiefs v Highlanders
Tom Donnelly and Romana Graham contest a lineout during the Chiefs' 20-7 victory over the Highlanders.
Chiefs v Highlanders
Chief Leila Masaga turns into Highlander James Patterson, as Jason Rutledge also moves in.
Chiefs v Highlanders
Highlander Siale Piutau competes with Chief Richard Kahui.
Chiefs v Highlanders
Nick Crosswell feels the full impact of the Chiefs defence.
Chiefs v Highlanders
Ben Smith and Leila Masaga lock horns.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Highlanders player Ben Atiga is tackled by Hurricanes' Jayden Hayward.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Highlanders player Jimmy Cowan kicks the ball against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Hurricanes' Jayden Hayward with the ball as Highlanders' Nasi Manu looms.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Highlanders and Hurricanes players about to engage a scrum.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Highlanders players John Hardie and Lima Sopoaga celebrating their 13-6 win over the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Highlanders player Jimmy Cowan about to pass the ball out against the Hurricanes.
Highlanders v Lions
Lions captain Doppies La Grange being interviewed by television while a gutted Jamie Mackintosh stands to left waiting on his interview.
Highlanders v Lions
Highlanders player John Hardie runs with the ball against the Lions.
Highlanders v Lions
Highlanders player Ben Smith passing the ball with a Lions player hanging off him.
Highlanders v Lions
A fight breaks out on the field during the second half of the Highlanders v Lions.
Highlanders v Lions
Highlanders player Shaun Treeby passes the ball in style against the Lions.
Highlanders v Lions
Devastated Highlanders come to terms with the fact their finals dreams are over, following defeat against the Force.
Highlanders v Lions
Jamie Mackintosh leads out the Highlanders in their controversial green jersey.
Highlanders v Lions
Adam Thomson looks to make a break during the final Super Rugby game at Carisbrook against the Force.
Highlanders v Lions
Jimmy Cowan looks for space as the Western Force defence closes in.
Highlanders v Lions
Highlanders captain Jamie Mackintosh gets some support from mum.
Highlanders v Force
The Highlanders running onto the ground in their new jerseys.
Highlanders v Force
Highlanders player Siale Piutau running with the ball with Force David Smith tackling.
Blues v Highlanders
Blues loosehead prop Charlie Faumuina is tackled.
Blues v Highlanders
Blues first-five Stephen Brett on the way to scoring aginst the Highlanders.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders number eight Nasi Manu is brought down by Blues openside flanker Luke Braid.
Blues v Highlanders
Jason Rutledge of the Highlanders in the thick of battle against the Blues.

"It's just great for my boys to get off to a start like this," Highlanders captain Jamie Mackintosh told Sky Sport.

"For our confidence, we needed that, and not many people gave us a chance."

Nonu's second half sending off for a late shoulder charge on Highlanders halfback Jimmy Cowan saw him gain his second yellow card from Australian referee Stu Dickinson after an earlier transgression at a ruck.

But it was far from the only ugly part of the Hurricanes' effort on a night where passes were spilled, touch missed and opportunities lost.

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Conrad Smith and Alando Soakai
CRUNCHED: Hurricanes centre Conrad Smith is hit hard as hit off-loads by Highlanders No 7 Alando Soakai during the Super Rugby opener. The Highlanders won 14-9.

They were also worryingly outnumbered at attacking rucks with blindside Adam Thomson the pick of the visiting pack.

The only ones who didn't care that this was an awful advertisement for the new Super Rugby competition were the Highlanders.

"We certainly made hard work of it in the second half, our lineout fell to pieces a bit and we should have closed that game out when Ma'a got sent off, but it was character building I suppose," Mackintosh said.

Hurricanes captain Andrew Hore understandably cut a frustrated figure post-match.

"You try and play an game with 14 men for 40 minutes and keep making mistakes, you're never going to win really, are you?," he said.

"They lived off our mistakes and we made plenty of them so it was easy going for them for a while."

The Highlanders rode a first half try to young first-five Lima Sopoaga to get the win nobody, but coach Jamie Joseph thought they could.

Sopoaga missed three penalties and a conversion, but struck when it mattered most after Cowan scooted around Hurricanes skipper Andrew Hore of the back of a lineout on the half hour mark.

It was a rare moment of execution from either side, but enough for the rag tag southern franchise to get home.

In contrast Sopoaga's opposite Aaron Cruden was off his game, some nice early line breaks cancelled out by some sloppy kicking including two easy misses from his five attempts.

Young Hurricanes wing Julian Savea summed up his side's frustrating inability to get going, not touching the ball in the opening 40 minutes.

The match will be remembered for Nonu's late shoulder charge on Cowan, who stayed down for dramatic effect till Dickinson had finished playing cards.

Cowan saw the funny side with a smile for the big screen, but there was nothing humorous for the Hurricanes who face the Crusaders with an unexpexted L in their results column.

Hammett had preached discipline in the build up, but the penalties flowed to the tune of eight against the home team in the first half hour.

They included the sinbinning of Nonu on the half hour mark for an innocuous, but needless hand in the ruck.

Dickinson was dishing out penalties at two per minute for the opening quarter as the match struggled for any momentum.

Joseph's influence was clear on the southern men who flew into rucks on defence causing several turnovers.

Joseph cleverly tucked Sopoaga away at fullback on defence taking away a potential Hurricanes target.

Neither side was able to take full advantage with Cruden and Sopoaga missing two easy penalties apiece, but when Nonu went south the Highlanders grew an extra leg.

They even survived a torid final 10 minutes with only 14 players themselves after reserve hooker Breaydon Mitchell was sin-binned to complete their sixth win over the Hurricanes in 16 tries.

Highlanders 14 (Lima Sopoaga try; Sopoaga 2 pen, Robbie Robinson pen) Hurricanes 9 (Aaron Cruden 3 pen). Halftime: 11-6.

- with NZPA

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