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Brisbane – The Queensland Reds withstood a late Wellington Hurricanes' onslaught on Friday to win 18-12 and maintain their strong recent Super Rugby record against New Zealand teams.
Wallabies wing Digby Ioane scored his first try in Brisbane since the 2011 final and lock Rob Simmons touched down for the first time in 51 Super Rugby appearances to give the Australian outfit a deserved victory.
Quade Cooper kicked the Reds' remaining eight points but the Hurricanes almost staged a late comeback, dominating possession in the final 10 minutes and mounting repeated raids on the home side's line.
The Reds nearly threw away a ninth victory in 10 matches against New Zealand opposition when Cooper hurled the ball back across his own line with five minutes left but the visitors' try was ruled out by the TV official for a knock on in the build-up.
The Hurricanes ended a game try-less for the first time since their last match of the 2011 season, only troubling the scoreboard with four penalties from fly-half Beauden Barrett, who twice struck the post and missed a total of three place kicks.
“We were playing in our own half and against a quality side like the Hurricanes you can't do that,” Reds captain James Slipper said. “The defence we put up there was phenomenal.”
A 23rd win from their last 26 home games means the Reds head into next week's game with the Melbourne Rebels in good spirits.
The winless Hurricanes must hope home advantage helps them avoid a backlash from a Canterbury Crusaders side soundly beaten 34-15 by the Auckland Blues earlier on Friday.
Barrett had put the Hurricanes 9-6 ahead before Ioane finally ended his barren streak midway through the first half, taking a low, flat pass and diving for the left corner.
Cooper's missed conversion meant it was 11-9 at halftime.
Eight minutes after the restart, the Reds worked the ball to within striking distance from a scrum turnover and Simmons picked up to dive over from close range.
Cooper converted and, while Barrett struck his fourth penalty, the Hurricanes' laboured in vain for a try. – Reuters