The Crusaders were indebted to rookie fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal as they overcame a nine-point first-half deficit to see off the Blues 19-18 at Eden Park in the opening game of the Super 15 season.
The 21-year-old, on his first Super Rugby start in place of the injured Dan Carter, kicked four penalties and a conversion to ensure his side won despite being outscored by two tries to one.
Chris Lowrey and David Raikuna went over for the Blues, while centre Robbie Fruean got the Crusaders' only try.
The Brumbies made the perfect start with a thrilling 19-17 win over the Western Force at Canberra Stadium.
Elsewhere, fly-half Morne Steyn kicked all the Bulls' points to edge out the Sharks 18-13 in a tough, uncompromising game at Loftus Versfeld.