Top 14: Hurricanes run in six tries during 46-30 victory over Southern Kings
Last Updated: 30/03/13 1:36pm
Late tries by Brad Shields and Alapati Leiua earned the Hurricanes a rather flattering 46-30 victory over the Southern Kings in their Super Rugby clash.
The South African newcomers were much-improved from the side thrashed by the Crusaders last week and were right in the contest until late on despite being outscored six tries to three.
The Hurricanes led 29-16 at the break and had already wrapped up a bonus point thanks to tries from Ben May, Conrad Smith, TJ Perenara and Jeremy Thrush.
But the second half was a scrappy arm-wrestle and it was not until Shields crossed in the 65th minute that the game swung decisively in the Hurricanes' favour.
The Kings fully deserved their three tries; lock Steven Sykes scored in the first half before Ronnie Cooke's five-pointer early in the second upped the pressure on the Hurricanes, while replacement Hannes Franklin dived over for a late consolation.
The hosts were off to a flying start when May claimed his first ever Super Rugby try just three minutes into the match after a lovely wrap around move between Beauden Barrett and Smith had opened up space for Julian Savea.
Barrett extended the lead with a penalty before Sykes took everyone by surprise by coasting over for the Kings when he ran straight past May off the back of a ruck - Demetri Catrakilis' conversion reduced the gap to just three points.
But Smith extended the Hurricanes' lead following a solid set-piece move, the All Black centre going over on the left wing following a floated pass from Tim Bateman.
Catrakilis kicked two penalties to keep the Kings within touching distance, but another wrap around move by the Hurricanes eventually resulted in a try for Perenara before Thrush powered his way over on the stroke of half-time to cancel out another Catrakilis penalty.
The Kings kept fighting in the second period, though, and profited nine minutes after the break when Cooke crossed for their second try after Karl Lowe was penalised - Catrakilis' conversion bringing the visitors to within six.
The Hurricanes looked rather ragged at that stage and it was not until Shields touched down that they settled their nerves. Leiua then scorched in under the posts before Franklin ensured the visitors ended the match on a high note.