Rugby-Barrett misses late penalties as Brumbies claim win

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(Reuters) - Jordie Barrett missed two late penalties as the ACT Brumbies notched up only the second win by an Australian team in the Super Rugby Trans Tasman competition on Saturday with a narrow 12-10 victory over the Wellington Hurricanes in Canberra.

Barrett sent a pair of penalty attempts wide of the posts in the final three minutes as Dan McKellar's side picked up their first win in the tournament against a Hurricanes side that had been looking to return to the top of the standings.

Len Ikitau's 52nd minute try earned the Brumbies the victory in a tight game that leaves the Auckland Blues in sole possession of first place in the Super Rugby Trans Tasman standings after four rounds.

The teams traded tries in the first half with Dane Coles pulling the Hurricanes level after Lachlan Lonergan had put the Brumbies in front 12 minutes into the game.

The Hurricanes held a three-point lead at half time after Barrett's penalty broke the deadlock, as the New Zealanders weathered the loss of Du'Plessis Kirifi to the sin bin for dangerous play.

But a missed penalty early in the second half by Barrett gave the Brumbies the opportunity to take the lead, and Ikitau took full advantage 12 minutes into the half.

Nic White, on as a replacement one minute earlier, played a reverse pass that allowed Ikitau to surge through the wrong-footed Hurricanes defence before powering all the way to the line.

Barrett's two missed penalties late in the game handed the Brumbies a win that moves them on to five points from their first four games.

Earlier in the day, the Otago Highlanders emerged from a frantic first half to notch up a 59-23 win over the New South Wales Waratahs in Dunedin to secure a bonus point victory.

The Highlanders crossed for nine tries and moved onto 18 points from their first four games in the competition, level with the Crusaders and one adrift of leaders the Auckland Blues.

The teams scored seven tries between them in the opening 40 minutes, with the Highlanders eventually emerging from a first half try-fest with a 10-point lead.

Ethan De Groot and Ash Dixon scored two tries each, with the Highlanders taking command in the second half to eventually ease to victory.

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong; Editing by Hugh Lawson)