Loose forward Brad Shields' try with 15 minutes remaining helped the Wellington Hurricanes finish off the challenge of the Southern Kings as they ran out 46-30 victors in their Super Rugby clash at Wellington Regional Stadium on Saturday.
The Hurricanes had never really looked like they would lose against the competition newcomers, yet also never really managed to put the game away in a bumbling effort.
The home side scored six tries while flyhalf Beauden Barrett added 16 points from five conversions and two penalties as the Hurricanes recorded their third successive win after dropping their first two games.
The Kings were kept in the game through the boot of flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis, who knocked over three penalties and converted Stephen Sykes and Ronnie Cooke's tries as the South Africans never let the Hurricanes establish too large a lead until Shields' try.
The Hurricanes opened the scoring early when Ben May notched his first Super Rugby try, in his 55th game, when he crossed in the third minute after some effective build-up work by both backs and forwards.
Captain Conrad Smith, scrumhalf TJ Perenara and lock Jeremy Thrush, also crossed to ensure the Hurricanes had secured a bonus point for scoring four tries by halftime, while flyhalf Beauden Barrett slotted three conversions and penalty.
The home side, however were their own worst enemies, as they gave away silly penalties inside their own half, which Catrakilis punished with three penalties at times that dragged his side back within touching distance.
Catrakilis also converted Stephen Sykes' 16th minute try after the lock had ripped the ball from a team mate at an attacking maul and trotted over untouched.
The match, however, lost all shape after the break with the Hurricanes unable to get any momentum as they dropped the ball and were penalised heavily for silly errors.
Kings' centre Cooke scored a 48th minute try from an elegantly executed move that had been perfected on the training ground, which Catrakilis converted to drag his side to 29-23.
The match, however, went into a dull arm-wrestle before Shields scored and Alapati Leuia added an intercept try to blow out the scoreline.
Replacement hooker Hannes Franklin grabbed the King's third try with less than five minutes remaining, though by then there was no chance of a comeback.