James Mortimer 02.Sep.2012Getty Images
Samoan international and Hurricanes first five-eighth Tusi Pisi scored for the title holders, but there were few other high profile All Blacks on display during the opener.
Sonny Bill Williams Panasonic Wild Knights kicked off their season with a 44-13 win against the Ricoh Black Rams, who were without the services of former All Blacks Ma'a Nonu and Tamati Ellison - but are expected to be a threat as Ricoh has Colin Bourke and Riki Flutey on their books this year.
While Mils Muliaina continues to play his trade for the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes, other high profile All Blacks signings were not in action.
Jerome Kaino is still to make his debut for Toyota, while Isaia Toeava is yet to run out for Canon.
Williams, who is hoping to add a Japanese title to his World Cup, Super Rugby, Ranfurly Shield and Bledisloe Cup honours, said to Reuters he was going to have to up his fitness.
"It was tough being in the stands watching the boys play," Williams said.
"I'm going to have to work on my fitness a bit. It was a very fast game and the skill level was a lot higher than I thought it would be."
"My primary focus is to play well for Panasonic and help them go one step further (they lost in the final to Suntory) than last year."