Jordie Barrett highlighted a fine performance on his return from injury with a booming 60-metre penalty as he led the Wellington Hurricanes to a first win in Super Rugby Aotearoa, 25-18 over the Waikato Chiefs in Hamilton on Sunday.
It was a morale-boosting victory for the ‘Canes in New Zealand’s revived Super Rugby competition even though they finished with only 14 players after Scott Scrafton was shown a red card after receiving two yellows.
But it added to a disappointing return to New Zealand for the Waikato-born and former Wales coach Warren Gatland as his side slumped to a fourth loss.
In a much-improved second half for the Chiefs they improved from a 20-3 deficit at the turn to be one converted try from drawing level, and Hurricanes skipper TJ Perenara was relieved to hear the final whistle.
On Saturday, the Brumbies survived a gritty fightback with a battling 31-23 win over the Melbourne Rebels.
The Canberra-based side got off to a flyer before the 15-team southern hemisphere Super Rugby competition was halted because of the pandemic in March, winning five of their first six.
One of those was over the Rebels and it was a repeat performance at home on Saturday in their opener of the 10-round Super Rugby AU.
And back in New Zealand, two tries in the closing four minutes saw the Crusaders survive a first-half setback to beat the Otago Highlanders 40-20 and remain unbeaten in New Zealand’s Super Rugby championship on Saturday.
The Highlanders, playing before their home crowd, twice held the lead in the southern derby and turned 17-14 ahead.