The Reds conceded two yellow cards and the Hurricanes made the most of the opportunity to score six tries in a record win at the Cake Tin in Wellington on Friday.
The Canes kept alive their slim hopes of making the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final with a 43-14 bonus-point win over the Super Rugby AU champions, finishing strongly after enjoying a narrow 10-7 lead at half-time.
The Hurricanes, who suffered a shock loss to the Brumbies last week, are still a mathematical chance to make the tournament decider but need other results to go their way.
‘We’ve done what we can and now we’ve just got to wait,’ captain Ardie Savea said. ‘We wanted to come out here and put on a performance we could be proud of and we did that.’
Reds skipper Liam Wright said the scoreline did not reflect how competitive the Australians were, but they paid the price for poor execution.
‘We probably took too long to build into the game but for a while there we put together some really good phases, some of the best we’ve played in this competition,’ he said. ‘I’m proud of the boys, they never gave up and kept their heads up.’
Hurricanes centre Ngani Laumape, playing probably his last match in Wellington before leaving to join Stade Francais, opened the scoring after five minutes with a trademark tackle-busting run.
Both backlines found themselves with plenty of room on a crisp Wellington night, with Laumape coming close to scoring a second 15 minutes in, only to drop the ball while trying to ground it.
Reds halfback Tate McDermott darted from the back of a scrum to even up the score after a period of sustained pressure from the Queenslanders.
A Jordie Barrett penalty made it 10-7 for the hosts at the break and they were a man up soon after the restart when Reds winger Filipo Daugunu was sin-binned for an offside tackle.
The Hurricanes took advantage with a Ruben Love try but the Reds hit back immediately through Brandon Paenga-Amosa.
The Hurricanes pulled away when Barrett broke through a string of defenders to set up Dane Coles for a try in the corner.
They were then awarded a penalty try after Reds flyhalf Bryce Hegarty was harshly adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball dead and sin-binned.
A fifth try for the Hurricanes from Devan Flanders ensured the hosts earned a bonus point before Coles’ second blew out the score further.