Hurricanes captain TJ Perenara was among the try-scorers against the Force. Photo: Marty Melville, www.photosport.nz

PERTH – Defending champions the Hurricanes set a new Super Rugby try-scoring record in overcoming the Western Force 34-12 in Perth on Saturday.

The Hurricanes posted six tries to two to break the record for most tries in a Super Rugby season with 83, overtaking the Lions’ 81 from last season.

The men from Wellington moved 10 points behind the  Crusaders in the New Zealand conference with two games left in the regular season, one of them against the Crusaders at home.

The Hurricanes’ victory also further extended New Zealand’s winning record over Australian opposition this season to 23-0.

The champions’ potent attacking big guns, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Vince Aso and Ngani Laumape, were constantly in the play, with Laumape and Aso taking their season tally to 14 tries each.

The Hurricanes led 12-0 at halftime, but the gutsy Force clawed back to trail 12-7 and had the Kiwi heavyweights under defensive pressure for much of the second half.

Hurricanes got away from the Force with four tries in 17 minutes to close out a strong win.

“They asked a lot of questions for most of the game. We had a good run in the final quarter, but for the majority of the game we were camped at our end of the field, and they were putting us under the pump,” Hurricanes skipper Perenara said.

“It took a big effort from our boys, it would have been most tackles by us this season, but that’s a good Force team, they’ve got a lot to play for.”

A boilover looked on when Force fullback Dane Haylett-Petty scored a 44th-minute try to reduce the margin to just five points.

The Force had dominated play up until that point, and it was only the Hurricanes’ resolute defence that had kept the home side out. But the Hurricanes ran in four tries within the space of 17 minutes in the second half to blow the game apart.

Inside centre Laumape scored a double, while scrumhalf Perenara starred with a try and an assist.

Force, who beat the Reds in Brisbane at their previous start, have been playing for their future with a decision expected on whether they or the Melbourne Rebels will be cut from next season’s Super Rugby competition.