The Hurricanes have scrapped hard in a 21-14 defeat of the Highlanders, overcoming a late scare for a second-straight Super Rugby Pacific victory.

The hosts looked to have sealed the game in their first 2022 home clash at Wellington's Sky Stadium when Peter Umaga-Jensen set up Logan Henry for a 21-7 lead.

But the Highlanders, who had pressed throughout the second half for little reward, came again through Josh Dickson.

The try, on the back of 12 phases, broke a run of unforced errors and allowed a chance inside the final three minutes for the winless outfit to concoct an unlikely draw.

A scrum penalty ended their hopes though as the Canes improved to 2-1.

Both teams hit the post with penalty kicks attempting to open the scoring, Hurricanes' prop Pouri Rakete-Stones taking matters into his own hands to race 25 metres for his first Super Rugby try.

A 7-0 halftime lead was doubled when Billy Proctor scored, before the Highlanders applied pressure and found a reply through Manaaki Selby-Rickit.

They then traded tries again to create a nervy finish in the near-empty stadium due to Covid-19 crowd restrictions. 

"We want to close teams out and we were just lucky we were holding on," Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea said.

Aaron Smith provided some refreshing zip off the bench for the Highlanders but they were left to lament more mistakes in a fifth-straight loss to New Zealand rivals.

"That seems to be our killer," captain Mitch Hunt said.

"We're creating plenty, the foundations are there but it's the small nails holding things up that are not quite right.
"We need to be able to finish.

Hurricanes 21 (Tries: Logan Henry, Billy Proctor, Pouri Rakete-Stones Cons: Jordie Barret 3) Highlanders 32 (Tries: Josh Dickson Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Cons: Marty Banks 2)

HURRICANES: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Bailyn Sullivan 12 Billy Proctor, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Ruben Love, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Caleb Delany, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Pouri Rakete-Stones.

Replacements: 16 Siua Maile, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Tevita Mafileo, 19 Devan Flanders, 20 Brayden Iose, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Peter Umaga Jensen

HIGHLANDERS: 15 Connor Garden-Bachop 14: Sam Gilbert 13: Fetuli Paea 12: Thomas Umaga-Jensen 11: Liam Coombes-Fabling 10: Mitchell Hunt 9: Folau Fakatava 8: Gareth Evans 7: James Lentjes 6: Shannon Frizell 5: Josh Dickson 4: Bryn Evans 3: Jermaine Ainsley 2: Liam Coltman 1: Ethan de Groot

Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Dan Lienert-Brown, 18 Saula Mau, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickitt, 20 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Scott Gregory.

Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser, Mike Winter