Benji Marshall's first Rugby match for the Blues ended in a loss as the Hurricanes edged the Blues 38-35 in a Super Rugby warm up played in Masterton on Saturday.
A try by lock James Broadhurst late in the fourth quarter, that was converted by Super Rugby debutant Marty Banks, sealed the game played in front of a sold out crowd of 6,000 fans.
After conceding the game's first three tries, the visiting Blues, featuring rugby league recruit Benji Marshall, had come roaring back into the match to score 35 unanswered points and then lead 35-31 with the clock winding down.
Early on, the Hurricanes capitalised on an attacking that line that was too lateral and they pounced on three turnovers to race to a 19-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Banks was directly involved in the first two of these tries, him and right wing Andre Taylor involved in the game's opening try to halfback Chris Smylie and then Banks running all of 80 metres to score himself.
Hurricanes prop Chris Eves made a turnover in midfield, leading to the next try to fullback Nene Milder-Skudder.
The Blues struck in the second quarter, scoring three tries and taking a 21-19 lead into halftime.
Wings Tevita Li, Lolagi Visinia and centre George Moala scored tries for the Blues. All were converted.
The Blues scored their fourth try early in the fourth quarter to replacement Sonetane Takula, and then wing Li ran in his brace on the end of the chain of an attacking lineout, putting them ahead 35-19.
The Hurricanes came roaring back in the fourth quarter, with tries being scored by second five-eighth Hadleigh Parkes and flanker Callum Gibbins and then Broadhurst at the end.
In beating the Blues, the Hurricanes also won the Great Big Tui Cup.
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett said despite the pleasing score line he was thrilled with his team's defensive work particularly in the first quarter. He also paid special mention to Banks who scored a stunning try and kicked three conversions.
"Marty's defensive game was a highlight for me," said Hammett.
Other Hurricanes players to standout included loose forwards Brad Shields and Ardie Savea and replacement hooker Motu Matu'u who added energy late in the match. For the Blues, centre Moala was their best player on the day. Benji Marshall played the first half.
It was community rugby at its best on and off the field, with the crowd enjoying an excellent afternoon hosted by the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union that included live entertainment and three Sevens rugby curtain-raisers.
The Sumo Sevens game featuring players over 100 kilograms was a huge crowd pleaser while New Zealand's Got Talent finalist Cruize Karaitiana wowed the crowds with the National Anthem. Cruize, originally from Masterton, said it was the first time he had been asked to open a sporting fixture of such a big magnitude and he was humbled by the experience.
"It's just awesome to be doing this in my home town .... and for two such awesome teams," he said.
Also in the crowd were the Scottish, Welsh, Kenyan and Australian Rugby Sevens team in town ahead of next weekend's Sevens Wellington Tournament.
The Hurricanes play the Rebels in Geelong in their second 2014 Investec Super Rugby competition pre-season match this coming Saturday, ahead of the Crusaders in Levin on Friday 14 February.
The Hurricanes play their first Super Rugby competition match against the Sharks in Durban on Sunday 23 February .
Final Score Hurricanes 38 (19) Blues 35 (21)
Tries - Chris Smylie, Marty Banks, Nene Milner-Skudder, Matt Proctor, Hadleigh Parkes, Callum Gibbins, James Broadhurst
Con - Andre Taylor, Marty Banks 3
Tries - Tevita Li 2; Lolagi Visinia, Jackson Willison, Sonetane Takula
Con - Albert Nikoro 3, Baden Kerr 2
1. Chris Eves,2. Joe Royal,3. Brendon Edmonds,4. Mark Abbott,5. James Broadhurst,6. Jack Lam,7. Ardie Savea,8. Brad Shields,9. Chris Smylie,10. Marty Banks,11. Matt Proctor,12. Cardiff Vaega,13. Tim Bateman, 14. Newton Tudreu,15. Nehe Milner-Skudder,
Replacements : 16. Motu Matu'u, 17. Adrian Barone, 18. John Schwalger, 19. Mark Reddish,2 0. Blade Thomson, 21. Faifili Levave,22. Adam Hill, 23. Callum Gibbins, 24. Billy Guyton, 25. Beaudein Waaka, 26. Hadleigh Parkes, 27. Andre Taylor
1. Sam Prattley, 2. James Parsons, 3. Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 4. Liaki Moli, 5. Patrick Tuipulotu, 6. Kane Barrett, 7. Brendon O'Connor, 8. Peter Saili, 9. Bryn Hall, 10. Benji Marshall, 11. Tevita Li, 12. Jackson Willison, 13. George Moala, 14. Lolagi Visinia, 15. Albert Nikoro
Replacements : Greg Pleasants-Tate, Tom McCartney, Angus Ta'avao, William Lloyd, Tom Murday, Jordan Manihera, Chris Vui, Jamison Gibson-Park, Sonatane Takulua, Baden Kerr, Matt McGahan, Marty Swart
With thanks to the Hurricanes for the Report.