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Super Rugby report: Hurricanes run in five tries to defeat Reds
Hurricanes moved top of the New Zealand conference and added to the Reds' Super Rugby woes in Wellington with a 35-21 bonus-point triumph on Saturday.
The Reds have not won in the New Zealand capital since 1998 and a Cory Jane hat-trick dashed their hopes of ending that run, with TJ Perenara and Ardie Savea also crossing the whitewash for the hosts.
The Reds, who slip to 13th after the defeat, led by four points at half-time but came up short despite tries from Ben Lucas, James Hanson and 11 points from the boot of Quade Cooper.
Hurricanes climb five places as a result of the win and their renaissance continues after losing four of their opening five games.
There was no celebrating for Reds captain James Horwill though, whose 100th cap will be one he wishes to forget but the early signs were promising when Lucas crossed after five minutes following great work from Cooper.
The Australia number ten delayed his pass to perfection for Beau Robinson to burst through the hole and release Lucas for the score in the corner.
Their defence was given a tough runout though by the Hurricanes - statistically the best attacking side in the competition.
Andre Taylor's outside break released Jane for his first try, before a team effort resulted in a slick second.
Passing between Beauden Barrett, Taylor, out to Dane Coles who popped back to Jane breaking through on his inside put the hosts back ahead with a score to be proud of.
Cooper's boot though was proving influential, the Wallaby adding three penalties in the first half with three impressive strikes too. His final one of the first half put the Reds up 14-10 at the interval.
But the 'Canes built pressure well enough for Perenara to duck his way over close to the line, the territorial battle paying off as the home side then went 17-14 in front with Barrett's first points of the night after missing two conversions and a penalty.
Line breaks had not been a problem for the Hurricanes all night. Barrett's burst up the middle put them into Reds territory once more and following fine hands from Coles and Julian Savea, the space was created out wide for Jane to complete his hat-trick.
Barrett's penalty a few minutes later left the Reds slightly adrift at 25-14 in the final quarter, but they weren't going down without a fight and Hanson found his way over the line from short range to cut the deficit to four, keeping their hosts honest.
His older brother Julian had made an impact, but Savea came on to wrap things up for the home side. Tim Bateman cut back on Barrett's switch pass, offloading to the younger Savea and future All Black who burst over for the 'Canes fifth try.