The Hurricanes have secured a much-needed bonus-point victory over Queensland Reds to keep their slim Super Rugby Trans-Tasman hopes alive and farewell star midfielder Ngani Laumape in style.
Veteran hooker Dane Coles scored a try double and the record 43-14 result at Wellington's Sky Stadium put the home side atop the competition table, still within reach of next week's competition final, if misfortune befalls two of the Blues, Highlanders or Crusaders this weekend.
Laumape enjoyed a dream start to his last appearance - for now - at the 'Cake Tin', before leaving for French club Stade Francais, scorching through the Reds defence to score between the posts after just four minutes.
Ten minutes later, he crossed again, capping a movement that saw first-five Jordan Love break over halfway, before finding his second-five down the left touchline.
Laumape bumped off one would-be tackler and snuck inside the corner flag, but failed to ground the ball in the try-saving tackle of winger Filipo Daugunu.
He featured again, when Jordie Barrett touched down 10 minutes later, but that try was also disallowed, after Julian Savea knocked on in a tackle.
Further reviews implicated prop Tyrel Lomax in a head-high, no-arms tackle near his own line and when he was yellow-carded, Reds halfback Tate McDermott ran from a dominant scrum for a converted try to level the contest.
Barrett, who missed two potential game-winning kicks in the final minutes against the Brumbies last week, slotted a penalty from in front to restore a Hurricanes lead into halftime.
Soon after the restart, Barrett sparked an attack that ended with Daugunu yellow-carded for offside. The Hurricanes punished their short-handed opponents through a try from Love.
Down a man, Queensland struck back, with hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa shoved over by his forward pack.
The home side suffered a huge setback, when inspirational captain Ardie Savea hobbled off with what looked like a repeat of the knee injury that sidelined him during Super Rugby Aotearoa.
But Barrett struck again, spinning out of tackles and finding a midfield seam for Coles - fresh off the bench - to slide over in the corner.
When Billy Proctor grubber-kicked behind the Reds goal-line, referee James Doleman awarded a controversial penalty try (and yellow card), after Bryce Hegarty was deemed to deliberately knock the ball dead - a decision that effectively ended the Australian challenge.
With Hegarty off the field, loose forward Devan Flanders scored from a close-range lineout, securing the bonus point needed to keep the Hurricanes' title aspirations alive.
Coles provided the icing on a dominant performance, when he was on the back of another lineout maul for his second try.
Hurricanes 43 (Coles 2, Laumape, Flanders & Love tries; penalty try; Barrett 4 conversions & penalty) Reds 14 (McDermott & Paenga-Amost tries; Hegarty 2 conversions)
Join us at 4:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Crusaders v Rebels Super Rugby Trans-Tasman clash