Relive 1 NEWS' live updates of this evening's Super Rugby Aotearoa game between the Hurricanes and Blues at Sky Stadium in Wellington.
FT: HUR 16-31 BLU
Smiles all around for the Blues as they take a comfortable victory in the end. It really could have swung either way after the first 50-odd minutes but the Auckland side took control. Promising signs early for the Blues, while the Hurricanes will likely rue a few ball-handling errors in the first half that cost them from taking a substantial lead.
That is all from us. Have a great evening.
78min: HUR 16-31 BLU
BLU TRY!!! That will do it for the Blues! Barrett tries a crosskick for Goosen but it's a terrible bounce and it's sat right up for Rieko Ioane with only open pasture in front of him! There is no stopping this man in a foot race as he dashes over the line to seal the opening weekend victory for the Blues. Black converts once more. A great start for the season for the Blues in Wellington.
76min: HUR 16-24 BLU
BLU PEN Ah the Hurricanes didn't need this. Savea is penalised for a side entry right in front from 30m out and Black makes no mistake.
73min: HUR 16-21 BLU
Goosen puts a nice kick through from the right touchline, putting Ruru under pressure at the back. He swings the ball to Telea and he is away! Wow this is an amazing run from Telea, he's broken multiple tackles and gained nearly 60m before Julian Savea finally brings him down. That came from absolutely nowhere!
63min: HUR 16-21 BLU
HUR TRY! But the Blues are not out of the woods here. Akira Ioane concedes the penalty during the move leading to the ruled out try and the Hurricanes have yet another lineout on the 5m line. Oh and wow, it's Aumua's second of the night! The hooker has absolutely stormed through the line and dived over. There is no stopping him at that speed! Barrett knocks it over for the conversion, or does he? The touch judges haven't raised their flags but it looked to have snuck inside the post. A collective boo rings out around Sky Stadium as the replay comes up on the big screen. A bit of controversy!
59min: HUR 11-21 BLU
NO TRY! The Hurricanes get another penalty near the halfway line and interestingly decide not to go for the three points this time. Barrett bangs it deep into Blues territory instead to test the visiting side's goal line defence. Umaga-Jensen nearly breaks through twice before the Hurricanes win a penalty when the Blues knock the ball down. No card as it was during a tackle. Barrett kicks for touch again to keep the pressure on. Ardie Savea sells the dummy from the maul and bundles through for the try - but wait it's ruled out! The referee rules the ball was held up in the maul.
53min: HUR 11-21 BLU
BLU TRY! The momentum has swung to the Blues here and they've found themselves near the goal line again. The pressure is too much for the Hurricanes and Kirifi sees yellow for failing to roll away. It was always going to be hard for the Hurricanes to defend the resulting scrum a man down and so it proved. A set move saw an overlapping Black easily find an open Perofeta to waltz over for the Blues third try of the match! Black converts again to give the Blues a double-digit lead.
49min: HUR 11-14 BLU
BLU TRY! It took a while for the Blues loose forwards to show their power, but they've done it now. Akira Ioane throws Ardie Savea off him like he is nothing and bursts into the final third, offloading to Papalii to power his way towards the goal line. The Hurricanes are scrambling here and Nock quickly shifts to Black, who picks out a completely unmarked Clarke with a beautifully weighted cross-field kick. Plenty of time for the winger to touch down and the Blues are back in front. Black converts.
47min: HUR 11-7 BLU
Scrafton in trouble here. Needs to be carried off by physios. Replaced by Prinsep. Big loss for the Hurricanes early in this second half.
40min: HUR 11-7 BLU
Lovely kick from Garden-Bachop to start the second half and it leads to a Hurricanes penalty deep in Blues territory. But as has been the case throughout this match, the play breaks down via a knock on. The Blues counter briefly before they too knock it on.
HT: HUR 11-7 BLU
Well we said it would be a thriller and that's the way it has been so far through the first 40. Both sides have been keen to run the ball and push towards the goal line. The Blues made the Hurricanes pay for an early error but it was the home side who looked the most likely for much of the first half. The Blues did find their stride and pushed the Hurricanes hard but will be disappointed to be going into the break behind. Both sides will be looking to clean up their ball handling in the second half to make the most of the opportunities being created.
40min HUR 11-7 BLU
HUR PEN The Hurricanes win another penalty near the halfway line. More difficulty in this one for Barrett, the angle is not easy from near the right touchline. But wow he's done it again with another huge kick right through the uprights! The Hurricanes have gone into the break with an unlikely lead!
38min: HUR 8-7 BLU
HUR PEN The Hurricanes win a penalty just on their own side of halfway, and immediately the ball is in Barrett's hands. No breeze in Wellington tonight, but it makes no difference to him. Boy does he have a boot on him, he easily slots it over from 55m out to give the Hurricanes the lead with a man down!
35min: HUR 5-7 BLU
Wow that is brilliant last ditch defending from the Hurricanes! The Blues have been in the danger zone for over five minutes and looked destined to score with the extra man advantage. But it is Ardie Savea again who comes to the rescue, coming in over the top of the ruck and getting his hands on the ball. The Hurricanes win the penalty and get the chance to clear. A big sigh of relief for the home side.
29min: HUR 5-7 BLU
YELLOW CARD The Blues win a penalty and kick for touch near the 5m line. Blackwell concedes another penalty in the proceeding maul and the Blues decide to scrum this time. The pressure is really on now. The Blues get advantage as the Hurricanes collapse the scrum but not before Nock gets the ball out the back, shifting it to Black who tries to play a dinky kick through for Clarke but to no avail. Another scrum follows and Akira Ioane takes a quick carry from the ruck, catching Blackwell offside. The Hurricanes have conceded too many penalties in the last couple of minutes - Blackwell is in the bin!
25min: HUR 5-7 BLU
The Blues clear the ball into the middle of the park, straight into the hands of Jordie Barrett. Bad idea. Barrett charges his way back, breaking the line and drawing a huge cheer from the crowd. He throws a dubious pass that looked forward, but no whistle. The play comes to nothing however, as Laumape can't hold on to the ball just outside the Blues 22. The pace of this game has been immense so far!
22min: HUR 5-7 BLU
And now it's the Blues turn to ramp up the pressure in the final third. Akira Ioane has a strong carry in the middle of the park to bring the Blues within ten metres of the line, but Ardie Savea shows his quality, turning the ball over in the ruck and winning the penalty.
18min: HUR 5-7 BLU
The Blues have a scrum just outside their own 22. Nock goes blind side to Clarke, and boom he's away! The All Black winger steams down to the halfway line but oh no he's lost it! A shame, an exciting run.
10min: HUR 5-7 BLU
The Hurricanes are carving up the Blues defence! Aumua again bursts his way down the right wing and into the Blues 22. Laumape grubbers it through but it goes dead. The Blues survive.
6min: HUR 5-7 BLU
HURRICANES HIT RIGHT BACK!!! Wow what a start we have ladies and gentlemen! The Hurricanes recover their own kick off, Laumape breaks through the line as he always does. Some quick passing ends up in the hands of booming hooker Aumua, who just cannot be stopped as he charges 20m down the right wing, busting through several Blues players. The TMO rules Aumua was never brought down and the try is awarded. Barrett pulls the conversion wide, so the Blues maintain their slender lead.
4min: HUR 0-7 BLU
BLU TRY!!! The Blues get off to an absolute flyer here! Caleb Clarke burst his way down the left wing and threw the ball back inside, only to be intercepted by the Hurricanes just outside their own 22. However, a wayward pass bounces straight into the hands of Dalton Papalii, who runs over for the first try! Converted by Otere Black for an early lead.
The Blues kick off and is brought down by the Hurricanes just outside the 22m line.
Ardie Savea leads out the Hurricanes with his children and his brother Julian alongside. A special night for the Savea clan.
So the Super Rugby season is officially underway and what a mouthwatering fixture we have tonight.
In last year’s Super Rugby Aotearoa competition, the Hurricanes and Blues played out two superb games – the Blues won 30 – 20 at Eden Park, only for the Hurricanes to win 29 – 27 at Sky Stadium a few weeks later.
Both sides are packed full of All Blacks. The Blues feature seven in their starting line-up with the powerful pairing of Karl Tu’inukuafe and Ofa Tuungafasi also waiting on the bench.
New recruit Nepo Laulala will make his debut, as will fellow prop James Lay. Loose forward debutant Adrian Choat is in the reserves.
The away side will be looking to build on last season's excellent campaign. The backline featuring Rieko Ioane, Caleb Clarke and Mark Telea have the potential to break the game wide open at any moment, while the powerful forward pack will be a force to be reckoned with.
For the Hurricanes, tonight marks Ardie Savea's first game as captain, as well as his 100th cap for the franchise.
His older brother Julian will also line up for his first game back in yellow and black since he departed New Zealand shores in 2018, and will be hoping to make his return a memorable one.
Jordie Barrett anchors the backline, while Peter Umaga-Jensen provides a spark off the bench.
The Hurricanes have not played a season opener in front of a Wellington crowd for eight years, which also happened to be a fixture against the Blues.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 Devan Flanders, 7 Ardie Savea (c), 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Fraser Armstrong.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Reed Prinsep, 20 Du-Plessis Kirifi, 21 Luke Campbell, 22 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 23 Salesi Rayasi
Blues: 15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Harry Plummer, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 James Lay.
Replacements: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Tom Robinson, 21 Adrian Choat, 22 Jonathan Ruru, 23 Tanielu Tele'a.