Champions Highlanders lose to Queensland in Super Rugby.

10 April 2016, 12:00AM

Queensland picked up its first win in Super Rugby by beating the defending champion Highlanders by a point on Saturday, and All Blacks winger Julian Savea answered questions over his fitness with a hat trick as the Hurricanes ran over the Jaguares 40-22.

The Lions moved to second in the South African conference and overtook the Sharks by outplaying them 24-9. Also in South Africa, the Bulls scored six tries to dispatch the Southern Kings 38-6.

The Queensland Reds' long-awaited first victory came in their sixth game as they threw up the biggest surprise of the round, edging New Zealand's Highlanders 28-27 to end the titleholders' five-game winning streak.

Liam Gill, Nick Frisby and Samu Kerevi scored first-half tries in Brisbane as the 17th-ranked team dominated a side that came into the match as second-best.

All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith scored the Highlanders' first try on the hour mark and nine minutes later Malakai Fekitoa dived over for a five-pointer before Lima Sopoaga raced nearly 80 meters to cross in the corner, and nailed his conversion to close the gap to a point.

But the Reds wound down the clock in the final minutes to hold off the champs.

Savea's three tries included two in as many minutes late in the first half as the Hurricanes took a valuable bonus point from their win over Argentina's Jaguares.

Savea, who has 38 tries in 41 tests for New Zealand, hadn't scored a Super Rugby try this season before Saturday and was dropped by the Hurricanes two matches ago for being out of shape and form.

But he made a barnstorming return, scoring in the 37th and 39th minutes from breaks by scrumhalf T.J. Perenara as the Hurricanes took a 21-12 lead to halftime, and again in the 63rd as the Hurricanes outscored the Jaguares six tries to three.

In their first season in Super Rugby, the Jaguares lost for the fifth time in six matches and by their largest margin so far but the 18-point gap between the teams wasn't reflective of their effort. They defended stoutly throughout the first half and continued to pressure the Hurricanes' line through the second, scoring a late try to scrumhalf Martin Landajo.

Replacement Ben May scored from the last play of the game to give the Hurricanes the three-try margin they needed for the bonus point, and flyhalf Beauden Barrett kicked a conversion that ensured the Hurricanes reached 40 points for the second straight match.

The Lions had first-half tries to lock Andries Ferreira and center Lionel Mapoe to send the Sharks, one of the form teams at the start of the season, to consecutive home losses in Durban. Ferreira forced his way over between the posts and Mapoe bounced up from an incomplete tackle to dive over five minutes before halftime.

As both defenses tightened up, flyhalf Elton Jantjies added two more penalties in the second 40 to move the Lions to second behind the Stormers in the South African group. The off-form Sharks could muster only three penalties and their problems were compounded by Springboks flanker Marcell Coetzee leaving on a stretcher in the first half with a knee injury.

The Bulls made it five losses out of six for the Southern Kings, another of the tournament newcomers. Winger Jamba Ulengo scored two tries, as did fullback SP Marais against his old team. Only the Sunwolves, with six losses, are below the Port Elizabeth-based Kings.

At the other end, New Zealand's Chiefs are the leading team, with the Highlanders and Stormers six points behind the pace-setters.


10 April 2016, 12:00AM

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