Super Rugby Aotearoa: Jordie Barrett brilliance sees Hurricanes beat Highlanders for first win of 2021

A stunning individual display from Jordie Barrett has given the Hurricanes their first Super Rugby Aotearoa win of 2021, defeating the Highlanders 30-19 in Dunedin.

The Hurricanes fullback scored all 30 of his side's points, consisting of a hat-trick of tries, as well as three conversions and three penalties, two of which came from the halfway line.  

Entering Forsyth Barr Stadium as the competition's only winless side, the Hurricanes took the lead through the boot of Barrett, who landing his first penalty from the halfway line to put his side 3-0 ahead.

Barrett was in the thick of it again just minutes later, on hand to finish off a slick Hurricanes backline move, crossing over in the corner for the first try of the night. 

But under the roof and in front of their own fans, the Highlanders weren't about to roll over without a fight. 

After an overturned penalty call for foul play on prop Ethan de Groot, the Highlanders hit back with a try of their own.

Lock Bryn Evans found himself as the unlikely scorer from a Highlanders lineout drive, bringing the scores to 10-7.

But Barrett made sure to restore the Hurricanes' 10-point advantage with the final say before halftime. Linking up with winger Salesi Rayasi, he scored between the posts and converted his try again to send the visitors 17-10 ahead, with the youngest Barrett brother scoring all his side's points.

After the Hurricanes threw away a halftime lead in last week's 35-29 defeat to the Chiefs, Barrett added his third try after the break, forcing an error from Highlanders first-five Mitchell Hunt, who dropped a spiral bomb.

Proving his first-half effort was no fluke, Barrett then stepped up with another 50-metre penalty, showing off his impressive range to take his tally for the evening to 27 points.

The Highlanders stayed in the contest through a try to Connor Garden-Bachop, who dove over in the corner, after a great pass from fullback Josh Ioane. Garden-Bachop was only included on the left wing minutes before kickoff in place of Jona Nareki. 

A try to Thomas Umaga-Jensen in the 77th minute had the Hurricanes sweating on another collapse, but it was ultimately too little too late for the home side.

The final honour fittingly fell to Barrett, who landed one last penalty of the night to take his tally to 30, bettering the mark of 28 set by Richie Mo'unga for the Crusaders against the Blues at Eden Park last week.

The loss soured the night for Highlanders and All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith - who overtook namesake Ben Smith to become the Dunedin side's most capped player.

The win temporarily moves the Hurricanes off the foot of the Super Rugby Aotearoa ladder into third, one point ahead of the now last-placed Chiefs and ahead of the Highlanders on points differential - albeit having played one game more. 

The Highlanders' next assignment isn't any easier - they face the champion Crusaders in Christchurch next Friday, while the Hurricanes face the second-placed Blues at Eden Park on Saturday.

Join us at 7pm Saturday for live updates of the Chiefs v Blues Super Rugby Aotearoa clash