The Hurricanes stayed in touch with the Australasian Conference leaders after claiming a crucial 28-17 win over the Waratahs in Sydney.

In a thrilling match, in which both sides gave the ball plenty of air, the Hurricanes made better use of their pointscoring opportunites and eventually outscored their hosts by three tries two.

Both sides played with 14 men for 10-minute periods, after having players sent to the sin bin, with Taqele Naiyaravoro's yellow card in the 56th minute – for playing Barrett in the air – proving costly for the home side as the Hurricanes scored 10 points during this period.

The win means the men from Wellington are still third in the New Zealand Conference on 48 points, two behind the Crusaders who are in second-place, while the Waratahs missed a golden opportunity to move to the top of the Australian Conference table on their own – they are in joint first place with the Brumbies with 39 points from 14 matches. 

The Hurricanes were fastest out of the blocks and although Beauden Barrett missed an early shot at goal, he soon made up for it from the kicking tee after Wycliff Palu was penalised for a high tackle on Michael Fatialofa.

Barrett made it 6-0 with another penalty before crossing for the game's opening try in the 18th minute after gathering a beautifuly-weighted chip kick from Cory Jane close to the Waratahs' try-line.

The Waratahs didn't panic and reduced the deficit in the 25th minute via a try by Taqele Naiyaravoro, who dived over from close quarters after shrugging off the attentions of three defenders.

Just before half-time Nick Phipps was caught behind his try-line and threw a dangerous pass to Bernard Foley who fumled the offload before TJ Perenara dived onto the ball.

The Hurricanes thought they had they had their second try but referee Chris Pollock disallowed Perenara's effort after television replays showed he had knocked on in the build-up.

Just before half-time, the visitors were dealt a blow when Willis Halaholo was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle on Foley and the pivot soon slotted the resulting penalty which meant the Hurricanes held a slender 11-10 lead as the teams changed sides at half-time.

The scorers:

For Waratahs:

Tries: Naiyaravoro, Folau
Cons: Foley 2
Pen: Foley
Yellow Card: Naiyaravoro

For Hurricanes:

Tries: Barrett, Jane, J Savea
Cons: Barrett 2
Pens: Barrett 3
Yellow Card: Halaholo

Waratahs: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Matt Carraro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Will Skelton, 4 David Dennis, 3 Tom Robertson, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Paddy Ryan

Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 David Horwitz, 23 Reece Robinson

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Chris Eves, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Reg Goodes

Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Ben May, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 Jason Woodward

Referee: Chris Pollock

Assistant Referees: Andrew Lees, James Leckie

TMO: Ian Smith