The Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett says his team's 23-19 victory over the Highhlanders in Dunedin could have gone either way.
It was the Highlanders' third staight loss from three games this season, while the Hurricanes are two wins from four attempts heading into next week's bye.
Hammet says the defence was desperate from both sides.
The Highlanders skipper Andrew Hore succombed to a rib injury early in the first half and his replacement Brayden Mitchell broke his collar bone in the closing minutes of the match.
The Highlanders Coach Jamie Jospeh must now recruit new hookers before the Highlanders meet the Chiefs next week in Hamilton.