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Hurricanes upset Crusaders late
20:22 AEST Sat Jun 30 2012

A resilient Hurricanes side have kept alive their Super Rugby playoff hopes by overcoming persistent Crusaders pressure to sneak away with a 23-22 victory in Christchurch on Saturday.

Two penalties by rookie All Blacks five-eighth Beauden Barrett in the last 16 minutes proved the difference after the visitors had trailed 22-17.

The Crusaders, who dominated territory and possession, had the two late chances to win the contest.

But both five-eighth Tom Taylor, who ended the match with 17 points, and replacement back Tyler Bleyendaal, with a 50-metre effort on the siren, couldn't land penalty attempts.

The result lifts the Hurricanes to third on the New Zealand conference, three points behind the Crusaders, and with a guaranteed four points from their bye next weekend.

Competition leaders the Chiefs were also winners on the night, their lead at the top of the conference over the Crusaders opening out to 10 points with two rounds to go.

The Hurricanes outscored the Crusaders two tries to one to take their season's tally to 55, with skipper Conrad Smith getting both touchdowns.

But their struggles at scrum and lineout time, and a poor period after halftime, seemed to suggest that their opponents would prevail as the match entered the final quarter.

After both teams got on the board with early penalties, Smith grabbed the game's opening try, finishing off a big break by fullback Andre Taylor although there was a hint of obstruction in the move.

The Crusaders hit back with a superb 65-metre solo effort from winger Zac Guildford.

Smith's second touchdown, after he glided in typical fashion through a hole, helped to nudge the Hurricanes ahead 17-16 at the break.

The Crusaders came out with plenty of determination at the start of the second half and two further Tom Taylor penalties swung the balance their way.

However, the Hurricanes somehow stayed in touch and Barrett's two penalties ended up being decisive.