Hurricanes still in Super Rugby Aotearoa title race

The Hurricanes kept alive their slim chances of winning the title with the bonus-point victory and moved to 21 competition points, three behind the table-topping Crusaders, who play the Highlanders on Sunday.

The Chiefs, who lost all eight of their games in the domestic competition, will now temporarily bid farewell to coach Warren Gatland, who takes a year's absence so he can concentrate on the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa next year.

Hurricanes lock in two of their promising local talents on contract extensions

Umaga-Jensen’s midfield talents have been front and centre during Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa – after earning himself starts against the Chiefs, the Blues and the Crusaders.

The 22 year-old centre starred with a commanding performance in the Hurricanes’ upset 34-32 win over the Crusaders in Christchurch, with one try, one try assist and multiple line breaks.

In those games, he tallied 207 minutes of game time and head coach Jason Holland says he’s an exciting prospect and one to watch over the next two years.

Jordie Barrett commits to Hurricanes for 2021

The news comes as the Wellington-based Super Rugby side gets set to play their final home game of the year against the Chiefs at Sky Stadium on Saturday.

With four consecutive wins, including a 34 – 32 victory against the Crusaders in Christchurch, the Hurricanes are still major contenders for this year’s title.

Head coach, Jason Holland, says Barrett has been crucial to that success.

Hurricanes put Crusaders prep on hold

But Holland doesn't want to spend his Sunday thinking about the Crusaders.

"I don't want to move there yet. I want to soak up what we've just done out there against the Blues, especially if we lost out here to the Blues it hurts for three or four days. So I want to take another day or so to enjoy this," Holland said.

"We want to beat the other team and we want to go to Christchurch to end their run.

"We're going to have to do everything well. We're going to have to prepare well and that will start on Monday morning, but at the moment we're going to enjoy this win."

Barrett boots Hurricanes to win over big brother

Barrett's conversion upstaged older brother Beauden, who was making his first appearance for the Blues at Wellington Regional Stadium after he moved north this year following nine seasons with the Hurricanes.

"They're the kicks that every kicker wants, they're the ones I want, they're the ones you practice for during the week and so I was lucky I hit it true. It only snuck in," Jordie Barrett said.

" often enjoy those wide ones where the game's on the line.

Hurricanes dig deep to hold out Highlanders

They ran in three tries to the visitors' one, but still had to dig deep to hold on for their second win of the competition.

The match started at a frantic pace in gusty conditions, both teams denied a try inside the first 10 minutes.

Two minutes after an earlier obstruction denied Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith a fourth-minute try, Hurricanes second five-eighth Ngani Laumape's try was disallowed for the same reason.

Former All Black Carlos Spencer cut from Hurricanes coaching staff

In a statement following a report on 1 News, the Super Rugby club confirmed Spencer would leave the club immediately, as the 0-2 Hurricanes return to training on Tuesday for Sunday's match against the Chiefs in Hamilton.

"Due to the financial uncertainty created by Covid-19, we have agreed he will finish his contract early," the Hurricanes said.

"This means he will not be part of the Hurricanes coaching team for the remainder of Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Crusaders finish strong to beat Hurricanes

Mo'unga's 69th-minute try snapped a 25-25 deadlock and came when Hurricanes replacement Cobus Van Wyk mistakenly passed the ball to the Crusaders' Mitchell Drummond less than five metres from his own tryline.

The scrumhalf flicked the ball to Mo'unga, who scored the try and converted from the sideline to give his side some breathing room before David Havili crossed with less than five minutes remaining.

Blues defeat Hurricanes 30-20 in front of huge home crowd

Two-time world player of the year, Beauden Barrett, missed out on the No.10 jersey in his first game for the Blues, instead making his debut at fullback against his former side on Sunday.

Otere Black retained the first five-eighth spot after impressing MacDonald earlier in the season, and landed six from six with the boot as well as directing the Blues back line with clarity and control.

Blues-Canes match draws sell-out crowd

New Zealand's government lifted virtually all COVID-19 restrictions earlier this week, allowing a 10-week competition for the country's five Super Rugby teams to begin this weekend without any limits on crowd sizes.

The Blues said that by 12 noon on Saturday they had sold 43,000 tickets, the capacity set for the match, and there would be no gate sales on matchday.

Eden Park can usually seat up to about 50,000.

"It was only a few weeks ago that we were planning for a competition behind closed doors," Blues chief executive Andrew Hore said in a statement on Saturday.