It was super hot, super rugby in Eketahuna on Saturday as temperatures soared above 30C for the pre-season clash between the Blues and Hurricanes.
In a game where hard-working props dropped between three and four kilograms in the heat, the Blues, coached by Tana Umaga, let the competition know they're back with a 40-12 win over a star-studded Hurricanes side.
The Hurricanes took to the field with World Cup-winning All Blacks Nehe Milner-Skudder, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara and Victor Vito, but were on the back foot from the get-go when the Blues opened the scoring in the first quarter with a James Parsons try.
At halftime it was 7-all after Cory Jane off-loaded the ball to Leni Apisai for a try, which was converted by Beauden Barrett.
But injuries took their toll on the Hurricanes and, combined with a solid Blues defence, the visitors ran in four tries in the third quarter.
Even though a Julian Savea try gave the Hurricanes fans something to cheer about, it was the Blues who had the final say with an stunning intercept try by Lolagi Visinia with one minute left.
Sunscreen was an essential for everyone, including Hurricane's fans the Passeys and Lamborns and friends from Havelock North, who were at the game to watch Tom Lamborn run on for the Hurricanes.
"We've never been before,"Sharon Passey said. "It's a fun get-together and I think this is fantastic."
For Eketahuna Rugby Club president Dennis (Doc) Dougherty, the day was a winner.
"We've turned it on good," he said. "The players said the underfoot conditions were perfect, but overhead left a lot to be desired. But that's the trouble with winter sport."
Doc said he was thrilled with the turn out for the game.
"You get on a bit of a high and it carries on. There's more benefit for this town than just the rugby. Accommodation has been sold out for weeks, with people turned away from the camping ground."