Super Rugby Pacific: Ardie Savea inspires Hurricanes to fightback victory against Waratahs at Leichhardt Oval

The Hurricanes have moved into Super Rugby Pacific's top four, courtesy of a second half fightback to secure a 22-18 victory over the Waratahs at Sydney's Leichhardt Oval.

Down 15-0 at the break, the Hurricanes outscored their opponents 22-3 in the second half, and denied the Waratahs another victory over a Kiwi side following their 24-21 win over the Crusaders earlier this month.

The Hurricanes' fortunes lie largely with their captain, Ardie Savea, whose individual display of one try, two assists to go with 12 tackles almost singlehandedly earn his side their win.

Jordie Barrett against the Waratahs.
Jordie Barrett against the Waratahs. Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

The victory takes the Hurricanes to 33 competition points, leapfrogging the Chiefs, Waratahs and Reds to move into fourth place, and in the frame for a home quarter-final.

In a first half that saw the Waratahs dominate possession and territory, the Hurricanes failed to score a point with just 36 percent usage of the ball.

And with their statistical advantage, the Waratahs needed no second invitation to assert themselves on the match.

After the hosts opened the scoring with a penalty in the fourth minute to Tane Edmed, the Waratahs scrum took no time in proving its superiority over their opponents in the first half.

Repeated set pieces eventually yielded the first try of the night, as Waratahs No.8 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco scored - thanks to a pick-and-go on the Hurricanes' tryline.

And despite the Hurricanes' attempts to hit back with limited use of the ball, the Waratahs' second came through a rapid counter attack.

A wide pass from flanker Charlie Gamble sent Izaia Perese loose down the left wing, before an inside ball to Dylan Pietsch saw the winger go over for his side's second try.

Jordie Barrett had a chance to at the very least give the Hurricanes three points before halftime, but his effort hit the posts to send the teams into halftime with the Waratahs leading 15-0.

But down on the scoreboard, the Hurricanes certainly weren't out of the contest, thanks largely to their captain.

Ardie Savea against the Waratahs.
Ardie Savea against the Waratahs. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

Just minutes after the resumption, Savea created his side's first try, setting up replacement prop Tevita Mafileo for his first try in Super Rugby, and grabbing the Hurricanes' first points of the night.

A penalty from Jordie Barrett took the Hurricanes to within five at 15-10, before Savea again had a say as his side levelled the scores.

A break from first-five Aidan Morgan had Savea in support, as the No.8 fired a wide pass to centre Bailyn Sullivan on the right wing.

Sullivan beat the attempted cover tackle of winger Mark Nawaqanitawase to score, only to see Barrett's attempted go-ahead conversion miss the target.

Level at 15-all, the Waratahs took the lead again as replacement first-five Ben Donaldson landed a long-range penalty for a three-point lead with just 10 minutes to play.

But it was to be Savea who had the final say.

After older brother Julian had a go at the Waratahs' tryline, Ardie defied what appeared to be a shoulder knock to score what would prove to be the winning try, wincing in pain as his teammates celebrated around him.

The Waratahs' cause was hampered late, as replacement prop Paddy Ryan was shown a red card after his shoulder to the head of Barrett left the Hurricanes midfielder with a blood nose, and reduced the hosts to 14 for the rest of the match.

Now ahead on the scoreboard, the Hurricanes made the most of their advantage, and closed out their seventh victory of the season to sneak home by four points.

The win sees the Hurricanes temporarily sit in fourth-place on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder, however they can be overtaken by the Chiefs, who face Western Force on Sunday afternoon.

The Waratahs also overtake the Chiefs courtesy of a losing bonus point, but sit in fifth behind the Hurricanes on points differential.

Hurricanes 22 (Mafileo, Sullivan, Ardie Savea tries; Barrett 2 conversions; Barrett penalty)

Waratahs 18 (Warren-Voyasaco, Pietsch tries; Edmed conversion; Edmed, Donaldson penalties)