Super Rugby: Hurricanes crush ACT, Southern Kings upset NSW

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Hurricanes Vince Aso.

Hurricanes Vince Aso. (Photo: John Cowpland / www.photosport.nz)

NAPIER, New Zealand (AP) — Center Vince Aso scored three tries from Beauden Barrett assists as the Hurricanes withstood a first-half rally by the ACT Brumbies to beat the Australian conference leaders 56-21 in Super Rugby on Friday.

The news didn't get better for the beleaguered Australian conference when South Africa's Southern Kings upset the New South Wales Waratahs for the first time 26-24 at Sydney.

The Waratahs led 17-7 at halftime but the Kings fought back to hand New South Wales its sixth loss in eight matches. The Brumbies lead the conference, but have won only three of eight games.

None of the five Australian teams has a winning record.

The Kings, expected to be one of three teams axed from the competition next season, are in last place in the South Africa 2 conference. Their win on Friday was only their second.

At Napier, Barrett created tries for Aso and winger Cory Jane to give the Hurricanes a 14-0 lead inside 12 minutes, hinting at an easy win over the Brumbies to whom they lost 52-10 last year before going on to win their first Super Rugby title.

The Hurricanes sat back on that lead and were shocked when the Brumbies scored three tries in six minutes, through center Tevita Kuridrani, captain Sam Carter, and scrumhalf Joe Powell, to take a 21-14 lead to halftime.

The Hurricanes came out strongly in the second half and Aso scored his second and third tries in the 46th and 52nd minutes, first to level the scores at 21-21, then to give the Hurricanes a 28-21 lead as the Brumbies were reduced to 14 men by the sin-binning of flyhalf Wharenui Hawera.

Playing with renewed confidence, the Hurricanes followed up with two tries to replacement Callum Gibbins and another to lock Mark Abbott which followed his double in last week's 28-24 win over the Auckland-based Blues.

Barrett then provided one last, brilliant assist with a cross-kick which set up the final try for center Ngani Leaumape. The try was converted, meaning that all 11 tries in the match — eight by the Hurricanes and three for the Brumbies — were converted and no kicks at goal were missed.

Jordie Barrett kicked seven out of seven for the Hurricanes, Otere Black converted Leaumape's try, and Hawera kicked three from three for the Brumbies.

The Hurricanes' 42 unanswered points in the second half improved their record to seven wins from eight matches.

At Sydney, the Waratahs looked on track for a bonus-point win after leading 17-0 lead with three first-half tries. But the Kings scored 26 consecutive points before the Waratahs earned an after-the-siren bonus point with a consolation try to Taqele Naiyaravoro.

Winger Naiyaravoro also opened the scoring with the first try of the night after Israel Folau tapped back a clever cross-field kick from Bernard Foley. Winger Rob Horne and fullback Cam Clark followed with length-of-the-field tries before the Waratahs' second-half collapse.

"It was a pretty embarrassing performance from us," Waratahs captain Michael Hooper said. "There was a lot of talk, not much action. It's going to be a tough weekend."

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