VIDEO: Late rally sends Hurricanes to the top
VIDEO: Late rally sends Hurricanes to the topSHARE
Despite the 43-15 margin, the Sunwolves showed they are not the easybeats of recent years.
It required three tries in the last seven minutes for the Canes to secure the bonus-point that saw them provisionally overtake the Crusaders at the top of thge New Zealand cionference and secured their seventh successive win of the season.
The 2016 champions were made to work hard for their win and only sealed the result in the game's latter stages.
The Hurricanes made the brighter start and thought they had opened the scoring in the third minute when Vince Aso crossed the whitewash, but his effort was disallowed due to a forward pass from Julian Savea in the build-up.
The Sunwolves made full use of that lifeline and were soon camped inside the home side's half. And they were rewarded in the ninth minute when Pieter Labuschagne stepped out of a tackle from Ardie Savea before scoring the opening try.
Hayden Parker added the extras but despite that early setback, the Hurricanes did not panic and opened their account via a Julian Savea try in the 14th minute. This, after he gathered a pass from Matt Proctor inside the Sunwolves' 22 and the burly All Blacks wing had an easy run-in over the tryline.
Beauden Barrett succeeded with the conversion attempt which meant the sides were level at seven-all, but the visitors regained the lead shortly afterwards when Parker slotted a penalty after the Hurricanes strayed offside on defence.
The Hurricanes stepped up a couple of gears on attack during the latter stages of the half and were rewarded with two further tries during that period. First, Finlay Christie gathered an inside pass from Beauden Barrett, inside the Hurricanes' 22, before dotting down.
And on the stroke of half-time, Reed Prinsep made a break off the back of a five-metre scrum before crashing over for a deserved try which meant the Hurricanes led 21-10 at the interval.
Jordie Barrett wasted no time making his mark in the second half by slicing through a gap and outpacing the defence to the line.
Leading 26-10 early in the second half, there was the feeling that the floodgates would open for the Hurricanes.
But this Sunwolves side is more resilient than their 2017 predecessors and produced a completely dominant 30 minute passage where they completely starved the home side of possession.
The Hurricanes were made to scramble on defence and protect their line fiercely as the Sunwolves constantly pressed on attack. For all of their time in the Hurricanes half, the Sunwolves only came away with one more try – but it was a stunner.
Replacement scrumhalf Yutaka Nagare spied some space in behind the Hurricanes line and chipped over the top for wing Kenki Fukuoka to pull off a brilliant chase to score in the corner.
The try closed the gap to 26-15 with 10 minutes to play and took away the Hurricanes bonus-point advantage.
The threat of missing out on a crucial bonus point seemed to spur the Hurricanes into life as the raced in three tries in the seven final minutes to claim the 43-15 win.
For the Hurricanes:
Tries: J Savea, Christie, Prinsep, J Barrett, Aso 2, Shields
Cons: B Barrett 3, J Barrett
For the Sunwolves:
Tries: Labuschagne, Fukuoka
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Brad Shields (captain), 7 Ardie Savea/Sam Henwood, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Murray Douglas, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Nehe Milner-Skudder.
Sunwolves: 15 William Tupou, 14 Hosea Saumaki, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Michael Little, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Fumiaka Tanaka, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Pieter Labuschagne (captain), 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 James Moore, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Craig Millar.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Shintaro Ishihara, 18 Nikoloz Khataishvili, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Edward Quirk, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Semisi Masirewa.
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser, Nick Briant
TMO: Ben Skeen