The Wellington Hurricanes got their Super 15 season back on track Friday with a nail-biting 29-28 win over New Zealand rivals the Canterbury Crusaders.
The Crusaders scored four tries to two but poor discipline cost them the match as they gifted the Hurricanes five penalties to nil, creating an opening for a Wellington outfit smarting from two successive defeats.
A Dan Carter field goal attempt in the dying minutes almost decided the match, but the Crusaders' super-boot uncharacteristically snatched his shot in front of the posts and sent it wide.
Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith said his side stuck to their game plan despite losses to the Auckland Blues and Queensland Reds, believing they were due a change of luck.
"That one could have gone either way and they'll probably feel disappointed at the way it slipped away but we've had a couple of those we know how it feels," he said.
"We just kept our composure, believed in what we're trying to do and we knew it would come our way."
While his Crusaders counterpart Kieran Read was disappointed at the narrow defeat, he was pleased the seven-time champions rediscovered their attacking flair after being held tryless by the Blues last week.
"We showed a bit of accuracy and any other day we would have come away with a win but the Hurricanes hung in there and defended well," he said.
The Hurricanes went ahead through a Beauden Barrett penalty and dominated possession until Ryan Crotty latched onto a pass on 26 minutes and weaved his way through four defenders for a Crusaders' try.
Carter added the extras but three unanswered penalties saw the Hurricanes up 12-7 at half-time.
The Crusaders regained the lead with a converted Corey Flynn try after the break, then added another when Israel Dagg pounced on a loose ball and soccer kicked it downfield before regathering.
Julian Savea hit back after the Hurricanes stole a Crusaders lineout, throwing off two tackles on his way to the tryline to narrow the gap to 21-19.
Carter also showed soccer skills as the Crusaders scored a bonus-point fourth try, poking at the ball and diving on it as bobbled into the in-goal area.
The Hurricanes were granted a reprieve when Read knocked on as the Crusaders claimed a fifth try, making the most of it with a penalty and an Alapati Leiua intercept try off a careless George Whitelock pass.
The Hurricanes then held on after grimly after Carter's field goal attempt to secure the win.