The Hurricanes were made to work hard before securing a 42-20 victory over a spirited Kings side in Wellington on Saturday.
The Hurricanes outscored their visitors five tries to two which means they secure a try-scoring bonus-point although they had to wait until the 80th minute for that crucial score when Beauden Barrett crossed the whitewash after pouncing on a handling cerror in the Kings' back-line.
Despite the big winning margin, this wasn't a one-sided affair, which was expected by most people after the Kings' poor performances in their three previous matches, and the men from Port Elizabeth were still in this game inside the final 10 minutes when tries from Barrett and sealed the home side's triumph.
The result moves the Hurricanes provisionally into top spot on the New Zealand Conference table, although that situation is bound to change as the Chiefs, Highlanders and Crusaders are all in action on Saturday.
The home side started like a house on fire and raced in to a 19-3 by the half-hour mark after Ngani Laumape, Blade Thomson and Ardie Savea all crossed for tries, with the Kings' only points coming via a Louis Fouché penalty in the 11th minute.
Prior to that, the Hurricanes made their intentions known from the outset and after taking the ball through several phases, inside the Kings' 22 Laumape crossed for the opening try after gathering a pass from Savea close to the touchline.
The Hurricanes were running the ball from all areas of the field and after Fouché's penalty Thomson rounded off a flowing move in the 14th minute.
Shortly afterwards, Savea showed great power as he bumped off three defenders before crashing over for his try but the Kings shocked the home crowd when they scored two tries which meant they were trailing by two points at half-time.
First, Steven Sykes crashed over from close quarters after gathering an inside pass from Fouché and then Shane Gates offloaded brilliantly to Fouché, who dotted down underthe posts.
The Hurricanes seemed rattled by that fightback from their opponents and they were much more cautious during theearly stages of the second half.
Barrett slotted two three-pointers, from the kicking tee midway between the half before Fouché added a penalty of his own in the 61st minute which meant the Hurricanes led 28-20.
The Kings tried gallantly to narrow the gap but, as they upped the ante on attack, errors crept in to their game, especially in defence. The Hurricanes capitalised on those mistakes and were rewarded with the late tries from Aso and Barrett which sealed a hard-working but deserved victory.
Tries: Laumape, Thomson, Savea, Aso, Barrett
Cons: Barrett 4
Pens: Barrett 3
Tries: Sykes, Fouché
Cons: Fouché 2
Pens: Fouché 2
Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Willis Halaholo, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Jason Woodward, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Chris Eves
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Loni Uhila, 18 Ben May, 19 Geoff Cridge, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Vince Aso, 23 Matt Proctor
Kings: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 CJ Velleman, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Sti Sithole
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhoudt, 17 Justin Ackerman, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Chris Cloete, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 JP Du Plessis
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Referees: Nick Briant, Kane McBride
TMO: Aaron Paterson