WELLINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) - The Wellington Hurricanes extended their lead at the top of the Super rugby standings with a hard-fought 32-24 win over South Africa's Sharks on Saturday.
The New Zealanders chalked up their 10th win from 11 matches this season and picked up their eighth bonus point but had to do it the hard way in a match where the lead repeatedly changed hands.
Trailing 24-21 with eight minutes to go, the Hurricanes regained the lead when lock Jeremy Thrush scored a try in the corner.
James Marshall missed the attempted conversion but landed two late penalties to deny the Sharks a bonus point at Westpac Stadium, where Britain's Prince Harry was watching from the stands.
The Hurricanes went into the match without several key players, including All Blacks Julian Savea and TJ Perenara, and immediately fell behind when Sharks hooker Bismarck du Plessis scored the opening try in the fifth minute.
The Hurricanes got back on track with tries from wing Cory Jane and centre Conrad Smith to lead 14-10 at halftime but the visitors surged ahead again with a try from winger S'bura Sithole.
Replacement prop Reggie Goodes gave the Hurricanes the lead again when he burrowed his way over from close range before the Sharks hit back with a well-worked try from wing Odwa Ndungane.
The Hurricanes dug deep to score the last 11 points to seal a win which gave them a commanding 14-point lead at the top of the standings and condemned the Sharks to their eighth defeat of the season and their fifth in a row. (Writing by Julian Linden in Singapore; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)