New Zealand sides kept their Australian super rugby opponents under the pump once again with the Hurricanes and Highlanders both clocking up round two wins in Friday night's games. The Canes thumped the Melbourne Rebels 35-13 at the Cake Tin, while in Perth the Highlanders shut out the Western Force 25-15.
The Rebels kept a lid on the Hurricanes' attacking game early on until winger Julian Savea grabbed an intercept inside halfway to race in for a try under the posts on 20 mins. Canes centre Billy Proctor got a second moments later after a step and burst from second-five Ngani Laumape set up halfback Jonathan Taumateine who shot an inside pass to a flying Proctor who did the rest.
Up 14-3 at the break, the Canes ran in three second-half tries (including a second to Savea after Proctor threw off two tacklers in a charging run) to the Rebels' two tries to power away with the game 35-13.
The Highlanders shot out to a 20-10 first-half lead off the back of tries to wing Jona Nareki who polished off an Aaron Smith break, a first super rugby touchdown for prop Ayden Johnstone who crashed over from a throw-in, and second-five Scott Gregory who beat four tacklers to score from five metres out.
Gregory got a second midway through the second half to push the Highlanders out to a 25-10 lead. The Force made a late charge, scoring a consolation try in the closing minutes, but the Highlanders had done enough to take it 25-15.
The Blues are at home to the Waratahs Saturday afternoon, while the Chiefs host the Brumbies in Hamilton and the Reds have the Crusaders in Brisbane in the evening games.
Hurricanes: 35 (Julian Savea 2, Billy Proctor, Wes Goosen, Asafo Aumua tries; Jordie Barrett 4 cons, Orbyn Leger con)
Rebels: 13 (Michael Wells, Campbell Magnay tries; Matt To'omua pen)
Highlanders: 25 (Scott Gregory 2, Jona Nareki, Ayden Johnstone tries; Mitchell Hunt con, pen)
Western Force: 15 (Tomas Cubelli, Angus Wagner tries; Domingo Miotti con, pen)