The Hurricanes made it four wins from five in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman as they defeated a luckless Reds 43-14 in Wellington on Friday.

There were just three points separating the sides approaching the hour mark before the Hurricanes made the most of clinical scoring and good fortune to ease to victory.

The Reds had nearly 60 per cent of the possession and 637 carries to their opponents' 564 but saw crucial moments go against them as they suffered a fourth defeat in five games.

Hurricanes centre Ngani Laumape's try opened the scoring but Tate McDermott's converted score levelled the contest after Tyrel Lomax had been sin-binned for a high tackle.

Jordie Barrett's penalty gave the 14-man Hurricanes a 10-7 lead at half-time before the Reds lost Filipo Daugunu to a contentious yellow card, with Ruben Love touching down soon after.

Brandon Paenga-Amosa powered over after some intense forward pressure but Dane Cole's try following a soft lineout began the Hurricanes' late surge.

Laumape was awarded a penalty try after he and Bryce Hegarty chased a kick, the referee showing the latter yellow after ruling he had deliberately hit the ball over the line to prevent a score.

Replacement Devan Flanders and a second from Coles in the final nine minutes further punished the men from Queensland.

The Highlanders secured what could be an important 33-12 bonus-point win over the Brumbies that boosted their play-off hopes.

Aaron Smith scored two tries and assisted two more in a match in which the Highlanders scored 19 unanswered points in the second half.

Len Ikitau broke the deadlock for the Brumbies but Smith, Ash Dixon and Billy Harmon put the visitors in control in Canberra, despite Lachlan Lonergan also going over.

Patelesio Tomkinson got the crucial fifth try as the Highlanders held off some late pressure to make it five wins from five ahead of the final day of home-and-away matches.

Jordie Barrett missed two late penalties as the Hurricanes lost their 100 per cent Super Rugby Trans-Tasman record, slipping to a 12-10 defeat to the Brumbies after the Highlanders had hammered the Waratahs.

The Hurricanes' hopes of reaching the final were rocked at GIO Stadium, where the Brumbies held on to secure their first win of the competition on Saturday.

Brumbies scrum-half Ryan Lonergan crossed for the opening try in Canberra, but Jason Holland's side led 10-7 at half-time courtesy of a Dane Coles score and five points from the boot of Barrett.

Len Ikitau put the Brumbies back in front with their second try 12 minutes after the break and the visitors had a late Alex Fidow try ruled out for a knock-on.

Barrett was then off target with a penalty from the halfway line in the closing stages and the New Zealand international was unable to win it from the tee with the last kick of the game.

A second victory for an Australian franchise in the tournament leaves the beaten Hurricanes in fourth place and looking likely to miss out on a place in the final, with just one game of the regular season to come, which is against the Reds next Friday.

A ruthless Highlanders team had no such trouble in Dunedin, thrashing the struggling Waratahs 59-23 to sit in second place - a point behind the Blues and ahead of the Crusaders on points difference.

They ran away with it in the second half, scoring 26 points without reply after going in at the interval with a 33-23 advantage.

There were doubles for Ethan de Groot and Jona Nareki in a nine-try rout, while Mitch Hunt booted 14 points.

The Reds finally ended the wait for an Australian win in the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman season, but there were heavy defeats for the Waratahs and the Brumbies on Saturday.

With Damian McKenzie sent off in the 22nd minute for making contact with the head area, the impressive Reds appeared to be coasting to victory when they opened up a 40-8 lead midway through the second half.

Isaac Henry scored two of their six tries, the first of which came with Chase Tiatia in the sin bin. McKenzie's red card then swung the game even further in the Reds' favour, as they capitalised on having an extra man to run up the score.

However, they were then forced to repel a frenetic comeback bid, four tries from the Chiefs closing the gap down to six points in the closing minutes.

The hosts managed to hold on to win 40-34 and register a first Australian success in the tournament at the 15th attempt, in the process denting their opponents' hopes of making the grand final as they collected only a losing bonus point.

New Zealand sides had dominated the two earlier fixtures, though, including the rampant Crusaders cutting loose against the Waratahs.

There were eight different try-scorers for Scott Robinson's team in an emphatic 54-28 triumph, with Richie Mo'unga converting all bar one of the scores in the rout.

The Waratahs did get within 10 points after Izaia Perese touched down with Oli Jager in the sin bin, while they also capitalised on yellow cards for David Havili and Nathan Vella to score a late try through Alex Newsome, albeit it was no more than a consolation effort.

The Blues made it three straight Trans-Tasman wins despite a determined Brumbies side matching them in the first half at Eden Park, the away team even holding a 10-7 lead when hooker Connal McInerney went over.

They were unable to hold onto the lead for long and trailed 17-10 at the break, Finlay Christie touching down for a try converted by Otere Black, who also slotted over a penalty.

The hosts added 21 points without reply in the second half, Bryce Heem, AJ Lam and TJ Faiane all grabbing tries in a 38-10 triumph that sees them take over at the top of the table.

Richie Mo'unga plundered a hat-trick as the Crusaders demolished the Reds 63-28 in Brisbane, with the champions of New Zealand swamping their Australian counterparts in Super Rugby Trans Tasman.

In just the second round of the competition, the Canterbury giants showed off their prowess and Mo'unga served up a dazzling offering of his quality.

The All Blacks fly-half was in inspired form from the off, and by the half-hour mark he had already snagged a pair of clinical tries and set up Sevu Reece to dart in for another stunning score. With Cullen Grace also sprinting through for a try, and Mo'unga clinical from the tee, the rampaging Crusaders were 28-0 ahead after just 29 minutes.

Tate McDermott got the Reds on the board with their first try, but the Crusaders kept the points flowing, Reece dashing in at the right corner to increase their lead to 35-7 early in the second half, before Mo'unga got his third try after 55 minutes, dotting down near the posts to allow himself an easy conversion.

A penalty try, accompanied by a yellow card for Harry Hoopert, nudged the Crusaders 49-7 ahead, but curiously the 14-man Reds then enjoyed their best spell, as Harry Wilson and Suliasi Vunivalu scored classy tries to reduce their deficit to 49-21 going into the final 15 minutes.

Hopes of further damage limitation were crushed when Tamaiti Williams powered over and Codie Taylor added another try to emphasise a devastating team performance, before Brandon Paenga-Amosa barged in for a last-gasp consolation.

Luke Jacobson earlier crossed twice as the Chiefs ran in six tries in a 40-19 victory over the Brumbies in Hamilton.

The hosts overwhelmed their visitors, with Jacobson landing a first-half double, collecting from the back of the scrum and crossing from close range each time, and further tries coming from Tupou Vaa'i, Damian McKenzie, Alex Nankivell and Anton Lienert-Brown.

McKenzie booted five conversions, with the result never in doubt. The Brumbies responded through tries from Len Ikitau, Tom Cusack and, right at the death, Rob Valetini.

Wing Bryce Heem grabbed a hat-trick for a rampant Blues side whose second-half dominance secured a 48-21 win against the Waratahs.

Armed with a 22-14 half-time advantage, the Blues raised their game for the second 40 minutes and pulled away, inflicting a 10th straight defeat of the season on the visitors to Eden Park.

Super Rugby Aotearoa champions the Crusaders survived a second-half fightback from the Brumbies to start their Trans-Tasman campaign with a dramatic 31-29 win.

The Crusaders appeared to be on course for a comfortable victory when they led 19-7 at the interval thanks to tries from Ethan Blackadder, Richie Mo'unga and David Havili.

Irae Simone's try and five points from the boot of Noah Lolesio trimmed the gap to two points after the break, only for Brendon O'Connor and Cullen Grace to cross to restore the Crusaders' measure of command.

But Tom Banks' try and Lolesio's conversion restored hope for Super Rugby AU runners-up the Brumbies, who then moved within two points of sending the game to extra time when Tom Wright's inside pass sent Rob Valetini over in the last minute.

However, this time Lolesio could not find the desired accuracy from the tee, his kick from the sideline sailing just wide of the left-hand post as the Crusaders clung on.

There was a markedly similar end to the Chiefs' 20-19 victory over the Western Force.

The Chiefs led 10-7 at half-time and tries from Nathan Harris and Jonah Lowe appeared to put them in control.

But Luke Jacobson's 66th red card, which came after he received a second yellow for slowing the ball down at the ruck, gave the Force new life.

They made their one-man advantage count three minutes later as Richard Kahui went over and had a chance to snatch victory at the last after Domingo Miotti crossed.

Miotti, though, could not convert his own try, sending the attempt agonisingly wide of the uprights.

That kick ensured it was a clean sweep for New Zealand sides over their Australian opponents, the Blues having run in eight tries in trouncing the Rebels 50-3 earlier in the day.

James O'Connor wrested victory from the clutches of the Brumbies as his late try gave the Reds a stunning 19-16 win in the Super Rugby AU final.

The dramatic intervention came in the 85th minute, with the Brumbies down to 13 players and desperately defending their line after Darcy Swain and Henry Stowers were sin-binned.

Kalani Thomas picked the ball up from the back of a maul near the try-line and fed a pass to O'Connor, who skidded over between two Brumbies players to thrill the large crowd inside Suncorp Stadium.

It gave the Reds revenge for their loss to the Brumbies in the 2020 final, and saw the Reds follow up finishing top of the regular season this time around by landing the trophy they longed for, a decade on from their last Super Rugby title.

O'Connor scored all the Reds' points, with his four penalties keeping the home team in touch before he added the late try and capped it with an immaculate conversion, the last act of the match.

A third-minute kick from O'Connor had nudged the Reds ahead, but Tom Banks capitalised on great play from Noah Lolesio to nudge the Brumbies in front 10 minutes later.

Lolesio added the extras and two penalties before half-time, with O'Connor also booting a further penalty for the Reds, as the Brumbies led 13-6 at the break.

O'Connor missed a penalty early in the second half but then proved more precise from his next two shots at goal, either side of Rob Valetini being sin-binned in the 61st minute for a high tackle on Jock Campbell.

Lolesio gave the Brumbies a 16-12 advantage for the closing stages after the Reds were penalised for an offside, but despite Valetini returning to the field, the men from Canberra were soon in trouble.

Swain was yellow-carded in the 78th minute for collapsing a maul, and Stowers followed him off moments later.

The Reds were denied a try by the referee and match official after claiming they had rolled across the line, but they still had the energy and momentum, and fly-half O'Connor seized the moment when the ball reached him to the left of the posts, darting in to snatch glory.

Toni Pulu was red-carded against his former team as defending champions the Brumbies beat the Western Force 21-9 to set up a Super Rugby AU final against the Reds.

The semi-final at GIO Stadium on Saturday was well poised with the holders 7-3 up when wing Pulu was dismissed for a dangerous tackle on Len Ikitau.

Pulu could have no complaints, having caught Ikitau in the face with his shoulder, and his early exit in the closing stages of the first half proved to be costly.

Domingo Miotti's penalty put the Force in front, but Tom Wright crossed in the corner soon after at the other end for a try converted by Noah Lolesio.

Tom Banks then finished on the stroke of half-time to rub salt into the Force's wounds after Pulu's departure.

Fly-half Miotti reduced the deficit to 12-6 when he was on target from the tee early in the second half, but Lolesio booted the Brumbies back into a nine-point lead.

Wright had what he thought was his second try ruled out after a replay showed his foot was in touch in-goal as he touched down, but two penalties from Ryan Lonergan gave the Brumbies breathing space.

Dan McKellar's side will face the Reds in the final at Suncorp Stadium next Saturday.

Super Rugby Australia leaders Queensland Reds made it seven wins from as many games as they came from behind to defeat second-placed Brumbies 24-22.

The Reds found themselves 15-6 down at half-time on Saturday, with their winning run under threat.

However, they had won four of the last five home games where they had trailed at half-time, and they made that five in six – including their last four such games in succession – with a blistering display after the interval.

Having finished the first half on the front foot, the Reds went over for their first try through Josh Flook shortly after the restart.

Tom Wright hit back to make it 20-13 to the Brumbies, with Noah Lolesio adding the extras.

Yet the Brumbies could not hold out, Jordan Petaia taking in James O'Connor's kick to reduce the gap to four points.

O'Connor's kick drifted wide, but he atoned with two penalties in the final 10 minutes to preserve the Reds' winning start.

The Crusaders suffered a surprise first defeat of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season as the Highlanders cruised to a 33-12 victory.

The defending champions did the double over the Highlanders in last season's competition, but the form book was turned on its head on Friday.

It was only a second win in five matches for the Highlanders, who defeated the league leaders through 18 points from the boot of Mitch Hunt.

Billy Harmon, Michael Collins, Connor Garden-Bachop crossed for the Highlanders, who are a point behind the second-placed Blues having played a game more.

Meanwhile, in Super Rugby AU, the Waratahs suffered their sixth straight defeat but came agonisingly close to a draw with the league-leading Brumbies in their first game since Rob Penney's sacking.

Interim coaches Jason Gilmore and Chris Whitaker saw plenty of fight from their winless side, who staged an admirable second-half fightback having trailed 24-10 at the break.

Will Harrison converted his own try to trim the gap to seven points with under a quarter of an hour to play.

The Brumbies saw Rory Scott sin-binned with six minutes left and, after Tom Cusack was sent off with the clock red, James Ramm went over following a scrum metres out from the line, offering Harrison the chance to clinch a share of the spoils.

But Harrison could not split the uprights with his conversion attempt as the Waratahs suffered a 24-22 loss and more misery in a dismal campaign.

The Brumbies returned to the top of the Super Rugby Australia standings as they ran out 42-14 victors over Western Force.

The Reds inflicted the Brumbies' first defeat of the season last time out, but Dan McKellar's team bounced back in comprehensive fashion on Friday.

Taking advantage of Tevita Kuridrani's booking, Len Ikitau went over twice in six minutes to open the scoring at the GIO Stadium in Canberra.

Having already lost fly-half Jake McIntyre to injury, the Force were no match for their rampant hosts – Cadeyrn Neville and Andy Muirhead scoring before half-time.

Lachlan Lonergan got in on the act after Henry Taefu had put Western Force onto the scoresheet, with Ian Prior dotting down for the visitors before Muirhead helped himself to his second try late on.

The win takes the Brumbies above the Reds, who are two points behind the Canberra team, while Western Force sit fourth with just one win to their name.

Jordan Petaia rounded off a remarkable comeback from the Reds with a last-gasp try as they dealt the Brumbies their first defeat in Super Rugby AU this season in a 40-38 thriller. 

The defending champion Brumbies led 24-16 at half-time of a rematch of last year's final and stretched their advantage to 15 points after Folau Fainga'a went over for his second try. 

But Taniela Tupou and Harry Wilson crossed within six minutes of each other to trim the gap to a point and James O'Connor's penalty kept the Reds within striking distance even after Issak Fines' try had briefly settled Brumbies' nerves. 

Yet it was Petaia who had a stunning final say, displaying superb handling to gather Hunter Paisami's low kick and touch down. 

O'Connor slotted over a simple yet crucial conversion to clinch victory for the impressive Reds, who have three wins from three and are just two points behind leaders the Brumbies, who have played a game more. 

In the Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament, the Crusaders breezed to a 39-17 win over the Chiefs, making it three straight wins to start their title defence.

They led by a slender 11-10 margin at half-time, the first half lit up by an extraordinary finish in the left-hand corner from Leicester Fainga'anuku. 

But they ran in four tries after the break and are nine points clear of the Highlanders at the top, albeit having played a game more.

Ryan Lonergan's sensational kick after the siren sealed a 27-24 win for the Brumbies over the Rebels on Saturday.

The replacement scrum-half set up Tom Banks for a late try before scoring the winning penalty four minutes into additional time.

The unbeaten Super Rugby AU champions trailed 12-10 at half-time and had captain Allan Alaalatoa sent off for dangerous play moments before the interval.

However, the Rebels could only get on the scoreboard through immaculate kicking from Matt To'omua as they failed to turn their man advantage into tries.

To'omua kicked four penalties to give the Rebels their lead at the break after Len Ikitau's 20th-minute try following a Noah Lolesio grubber.

A penalty try handed the home side a boost eight minutes into the second half, but it looked as though ill-discipline would prove their undoing as To'omua's faultless kicking gave the Rebels the edge.

Then came Lonergan's divine intervention. Banks received his clever pass and dived beneath the posts, with Lonergan's conversion making it 24-21.

To'omua's eighth penalty of the contest levelled the scores with four minutes to go, only for Lonergan to have the final say, launching the winning kick through the posts from distance to spark wild celebrations in the nearby dugout.

The Brumbies stay top of the table and have now won 18 of their past 19 home games.

In the opening contest of the weekend, the Western Force likewise had to survive with 14 men on Friday as the visitors held firm to beat the Waratahs 20-16 in Sydney.

Hooker Dave Porecki's fifth-minute try and eight points from the boot of Will Harrison gave the home side a 13-0 lead, but that advantage was cut to three points in the space of four minutes, Jake McIntyre converting Fergus Lee-Warner's score before kicking a penalty.

Tim Anstee snuck over the whitewash but the Force were left with a battle on their hands after Andrew Ready saw red for swinging a punch during an off-the-ball clash.

Harrison squeezed over a penalty to cut the deficit to a point with seven minutes left, but Ian Prior stretched the lead to four in the closing moments as the Force saw out their first win since 2017.

Mackenzie Hansen crossed for a hat-trick as the Brumbies ran in nine tries to thrash the Waratahs 61-10 in a lopsided Super Rugby AU clash at GIO Stadium in Canberra. 

The hosts made it 17 wins in 18 games at home, scoring 35 points without reply in the second half of proceedings. 

Waratahs actually opened the scoring through a Will Harrison penalty, yet Rob Valetini, Hansen, Noah Lolesio and Connal McInerney all grabbed tries to make it 26-10 to the hosts at the interval. 

Harry Johnson-Holmes had gone over for a score after 30 minutes that Harrison also converted, yet the overwhelmed Waratahs were ripped apart after the break. 

Wing Hansen crossed again in the 56th minute before completing his treble with nine minutes remaining. There were also tries for Nic White, Lachlan Lonergan and Tom Banks, while Lolesio kicked five conversions to give the fly-half a personal haul of 15 points. 

Replacement Ryan Lonergan took over kicking duties to land three conversion attempts following his introduction, helping the Brumbies claim their biggest ever win over their domestic rivals. It is also their biggest margin of victory in a Super Rugby fixture over a fellow Australian team.

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