The Hurricanes' astute tactical adjustments enabled them to secure a deserved 27-20 win over the Highlanders on Friday, according to SARugbymag.co.za's Opta-powered stats.
Coming into the clash, the Hurricanes topped the stats in terms of carries and metres made (1,315 and 5,797), while the Highlanders were the team that had kicked the most from hand.
It was expected to be a clash of styles in Wellington, but with heavy rain falling for most of the match, the Canes made some impressive adjustments to curb their natural instincts and adapt their game to the conditions.
In the first half, the Canes outkicked the Highlanders (putting 24 kicks in play compared to 19), while they applied plenty of pressure with a physical and accurate defence, which saw them establish a decisive 10-point lead at the break.
Late in the game, the Canes also controlled proceedings and protected possession far better than the Highlanders, while Ngani Laumape made an impressive impact off the bench as he ran 49m and beat four defenders.
Photo: Hagen Hopkings/Getty Images