Leicester Fainga’anuku scored three tries to help the Crusaders claim a season-opening 42-32 victory over the Hurricanes in Dunedin on Saturday.
22-year-old Fainga’anuku dotted down twice in the first half as the Crusaders took a narrow 15-13 lead into the break. Jordie Barrett slotted two penalties for the Hurricanes, while flyhalf Ruben Love scored their only try of the half.
It took just 10 minutes into the second half for Fainga’anuku to seal his hat-trick, with Fergus Burke adding a penalty and a conversion to give the home side a 12-point lead. The decisive moment in the match came shortly afterwards as Ardie Savea had a try controversially chalked off by the TMO, before the Crusaders were awarded a penalty try from a driving maul.
Jordie Barrett and Jackson Garden-Bachop scored in the final 10 minutes, yet they were consolation tries as the Hurricanes were denied a losing bonus point.
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