Center Vince Aso scored an acrobatic try to help the Hurricanes win 29-12 and end the Highlanders’ three-match unbeaten start to Super Rugby on Saturday.
Also, the Chiefs scored nine tries to beat the Sunwolves 61-10 in Tokyo in only the second meeting between the teams and the first in Japan, and the Stormers held out against Queensland 25-19 in Cape Town.
In the final match of the round at Buenos Aires, Emiliano Boffelli and Javier Ortega Desio scored two tries each as the Jaguares beat the first-place Lions 49-35 in a South African conference match. The Jaguares scored six tries in the match, the Lions five.
Aso was in the process of diving in at the right corner after a skillful interchange of passes with Jordie Barrett when he was hit in the air by a powerful covering tackle by Highlanders fullback and captain Ben Smith.
He still managed to pivot in the air and ground the ball one-handed inside the corner. The try gave the Hurricanes their first comfortable lead in a tight match at 22-12 and they went on to post their third straight win.
Aso scored a franchise-record 13 tries last season but has often been benched this season, and that was his first try.
Winger Ben Lam scored tries in each half from the Hurricanes, including their last in the 74th minute to make the game safe.
Two tries by Highlanders winger Waisake Naholo had the teams level at 12-12 three minutes into the second half. But the Hurricanes edged ahead with a long-range penalty to Barrett and finished strongly with tries to Aso and Lam as they gained a more reliable supply of possession.
Damian McKenzie, reverting from fullback to flyhalf for the Chiefs, scored two tries and kicked eight of nine conversions for 28 points against the Sunwolves.
Winger Solomon Alaimano also scored two tries for the Chiefs, one of them made by McKenzie.
The Sunwolves struggled at set-pieces in the first half, losing four scrums on their own feed and a lineout on their own throw. But they rallied with tries either side of halftime to cut the Chiefs’ lead to 28-5 at the break and 28-10 early in the second half.
McKenzie then led a Chiefs scoring spree of 33 straight points.
The Stormers flew ahead 18-0 after half an hour, but Queensland trailed by only four after tries just before and after halftime.
Raymond Rhule, who set up a try in the first half, was set up by fellow wing Craig Barry in the second for the Stormers to lead 25-14 with half an hour to go. There wasn’t another score until the 80th when Queensland wing Filipo Daugunu pulled off a nice solo score. The Reds tried a last-gasp driving maul from a lineout but it was repelled.
Queensland lost for the second time in five matches but of more concern was how its pack was ill-disciplined. Taniela Tupou and replacement prop Jean-Pierre Smith were penalized more than a dozen times.