Champions Hurricanes break new ground against sorry Sunwolves, Crusaders up and running

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Hurricanes broke new ground as they began the start of their Super Rugby defence with a devastating 83-17 mauling of Sunwolves.

The Wellington side, who defeated Lions in last season's final, were a class above the sorry Sunwolves and scored a club-record 13 tries in a single match in 

Ardie Savea, Vince Aso and Michael Fatialofa all touched down twice for Chris Boyd's men, while Ricky Riccitelli, TJ Perenara, Julian Savea, Ngani Laumape, Blade Thomson, Brad Shields and Wes Goosen also opened their accounts for the season in the rout, which represented their highest points total in a game.

Hurricanes, who were 45-5 to the good by half-time, were battered 52-10 by Brumbies in their 2016 season-opener but laid down a much bigger marker this time around, albeit far tougher tests lie in wait.

It was a far more even affair in Christchurch as seven-time champions Crusaders held firm to defeat Brumbies 17-13 at AMI Stadium.

Seta Tamanivalu touched down in just the fourth minute after fine work by Israel Dagg and the latter was influential in sending Whetu Douglas over before half-time.

Brumbies defended stoutly in the opening 40 and Rory Arnold's try brought them back into the game, only for Peter Samu to stretch Crusaders' lead again.

The Australian team attacked well in the closing stages, but Crusaders held out for a round-one win.

Waratahs are also up-and-running for the season after edging a tight affair with Force 19-13 in at Allianz Stadium.

Rain earlier in the day in Sydney meant conditions were not always easy and visitors Force led 13-9 at the break with Jono Lance contributing all their points with a try and eight points off the tee.

But Waratahs hit back early in the second half with Will Skelton touching down, and Reece Robinson - assuming kicking duties in the absence of the injured Bernard Foley - kicked five more points to seal the win.