Queensland Reds vs Hurricanes Super Rugby scores James Doleman referee

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The Hurricanes will be hoping two of the Blues, Highlanders and Crusaders lose their final games of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman after doing their bit by beating the Reds 43-14 at Sky Stadium on Friday to move top of the table.

But the game was marred by a controversial performance from Kiwi referee James Doleman, who awarded the Hurricanes a penalty try and yellow carded Reds five-eighth Bryce Hegarty for deliberately knocking the ball dead on defence in their in goal.

“There’s laughs all around from the Reds players,” Ian Smith said in commentary for Sky Sport.

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“I don’t think they can believe what they’ve seen. Wrong.”

All Blacks great Justin Marshall was nearly speechless alongside Smith.

“For them to come to that conclusion and make such a massive call… I don’t know what to say,” Marshall says.

“How they can say it was deliberate is quite bemusing.”

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Departing All Blacks midfielder Ngani Laumape scored the opening try and had a hand in the team’s second before receiving a standing ovation towards the end of the game as Jason Holland’s men kept their faint finals hopes alive with a bonus point win over the Super Rugby AU champions.

But there will be some real concern at All Blacks HQ ahead of the upcoming international season after Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea limped off with another injury 10 minutes into the second half.

Savea winced in pain as he collided with a Reds player in a tackle and may have suffered a recurrence of the knee injury that kept him out for most of the Aotearoa campaign.

Laumape shreds the Reds

Laumape led the Hurricanes onto the field in his final appearance at Sky Stadium before joining French club Stade Francais, and four minutes later he was diving over the tryline after latching onto a short ball and bursting through the Reds’ defence to score the opening try following an attacking lineout.

He could have had a second, and even a third, but knocked the ball on in the act of scoring following a try-saving tackle from Filipo Daugunu in the first half, before Hegarty was shown a yellow card for batting the ball dead after beating Laumape in a foot race in the second half.

On Stan Sport, Andrew Mehrtens was one of many bemused by Doleman’s performance.

Lomax lucky to avoid red card

“People will say it’s inconsequential because the Hurricanes scored 43 points but it changed the course of the game,” Mehrtens said of the penalty try/yellow card double.

“There are complete howlers going on every week.”

Dane Coles scored twice off the bench for the Hurricanes while Ruben Love, Devan Flanders and a penalty try completed the rout.

The bonus point win took the Hurricanes to 21 points, two clear at the top of the Trans-Tasman table, but they could finish as low as fourth if the Blues, Highlanders and Crusaders win their final round games.

The Highlanders were due to play the Brumbies in Canberra late on Friday night, which is where the Hurricanes lost last weekend, denting a huge blow to their hopes of winning some silverware after finishing last in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Hurricanes 43 (Dane Coles 2, Ngani Laumape, Ruben Love, penalty try, Devan Flanders tries, Jordie Barrett 4 con, pen) Reds 14 (Tate McDermott, Brandon Paenga-Amosa tries, Bryce Hegarty 2 con) HT: 10-7

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