WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Winger Ben Lam scored his 13th and 14th tries to close on the season record of 15 as the Hurricanes beat the Queensland Reds 38-34 in Super Rugby on Friday.
Lam touched down in each half and missed a chance to equal the record shared by Joe Roff, Rico Gear and Hurricanes teammate Ngani Laumape when he dropped the ball over the line in the 23rd minute.
Lam's double was enough to lift the Hurricanes to their 10th straight win and into first place, a position likely to be reclaimed by the Crusaders who play the Blues on Saturday.
The Hurricanes also extended to 39 matches the winning streak of New Zealand teams over Australian rivals in Super Rugby.
While the Hurricanes produced one of their worst defensive performances of the season, scoring five tries and conceding four, the Reds improved enormously on losing to Japan's Sunwolves 63-28 last weekend.
The Hurricanes had more than 70 percent of territory and 60 percent of possession but struggled to break away from the Reds, who trailed by only four points for most of the second half.
"We're a little bit disappointed to be honest," Hurricanes captain T.J. Perenara said. "We weren't accurate in the passages of play we wanted to be accurate in. Credit to the Reds, they brought a game plan that put us to the sword a little bit."
The lead changed hands three times in the first half and the Hurricanes led 24-20 at halftime.
They struggled to build on that in the second half. Lam scored early again and the Reds rallied again with a try to winger Jordan Petaia.
Lock Sam Lousi gave the Hurricanes an 11-point led with his second try in consecutive matches but the Reds hit back with a late try to center Samu Kerevi. Both goalkickers kept unblemished records.