The Hurricanes handed the Highlanders their third consecutive home defeat when they secured a tight 23-19 victory in Dunedin on Friday.
The visitors scored three tries to the Highlanders' solitary five-pointer, but were made to work hard for their victory by a determined home side who claimed a losing bonus point for their efforts.
The Highlanders took a slender 13-12 lead into the half-time break, with a try from Hosea Gear giving them some crucial momentum, but the Hurricanes fought back to clinch a vital win before their bye next week.
More to follow...
For the Highlanders:
Pens: Slade 4
For the Hurricanes:
Tries: Smith, Franks, Perenara
Pens: Barrett 2
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 John Hardie, 6 Joe Wheeler, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Ma'afu Fia, 18 Jake Paringatai, 19 TJ Ioane, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Lima Sopoaga, 22 Buxton Popoalii.
Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u/Ash Dixon, 17 Reggie Goodes/Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Andre Taylor.
Referee: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)